Driver Education

Newport News Public Schools' Driver Education program consists of 36 hours of classroom instruction, which includes 8 hours of alcohol education. The Behind the Wheel program consists of 14 total hours (7 Driving; 7 Observation). If additional information is needed, please contact our office at (757) 591-4601.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I qualify for a Virginia Driver's License or Learner's Permit?

First-time Drivers
You must be a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia and at least 16 years and 3 months of age to obtain a Virginia driver's license. To obtain a learner's permit, you must be at least 15 years and 6 months of age. No exceptions will be made to these age requirements.

If you are under age 18, you must provide written consent from one of your parents or your legal guardian unless you are married or emancipated. If you are under age 19, you must complete a state-approved driver education program.

If you are under age 18, your learner's permit or driver's license application must be signed by your father, mother or spouse over age 18. If your parents are deceased or do not have legal custody of you, your application must be signed by your custodial parent, legal guardian or the judge of the juvenile and domestic relations court in your locality. A court order showing that you are an emancipated minor is acceptable in lieu of written consent. If you are a foreign exchange student, your host parents are not eligible to sign your application.

If you previously have been found not innocent of any offense by a juvenile and domestic relations court in Virginia or any other state, you must obtain approval to be licensed from that court or a court in the city or county where you live.

If you are 19 years of age or older, and you have not previously held a driver's license, you must show proof that

  • you passed a state-approved driver education course, or,
  • you held a learner's permit at least 30 days before taking the DMV road skills test.

Learner's Permit
You may get your learner's permit when you reach 15 years and 6 months of age. It allows you to operate a motor vehicle when a licensed driver at least 21 years of age is seated beside you. The driver accompanying you may be 18 years of age if he or she is your legal guardian, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, step-brother or step-sister. The driver accompanying you must hold a valid driver's license, be alert and able to assist you and be legally permitted to drive.

When you apply for a learner's permit, you will also complete the application process for your driver's license and pay the fees for both the permit and license. You will be required to pass the two-part knowledge exam and a vision screening.

If you are under age 19, you must hold the permit for at least nine months or until you turn age 19 before you can receive a driver's license. You will receive a certificate when you complete a required stateapproved driver education program. Your parent/guardian must also certify that you have driven at least 45 hours. Ten of the forty hours must be completed after sunset. You will not be required to take a road skills test at DMV to get your driver's license.

If you are a home schooler, refer to the "Home-Schooled In-Car Driver Education Information Sheet," HS-3, for the criteria you must satisfy to meet your driver's education requirements. This publication is available at or at any DMV customer service center.

Getting your First License
If you are under 18 years of age, your parent or legal guardian must sign the certificate to verify your academic standing and to authorize issuance of your driver's license. If you are between ages 16 years and 3 months and age 18, your driver education certificate (signed by your parent or legal guardian) and your valid learner's permit (held for at least nine months) allow you to drive without a licensed driver beside you.

After you have held your permit nine months, turned age 16 and 3 months and completed driver education, you will receive a notice that tells you when to appear in court for a licensing ceremony. You will receive your permanent driver's license at the licensing ceremony.

Generally, males under age 26 must register with the Selective Service. If you are required by federal law to register with Selective Service, you must authorize DMV to send your personal information to Selective Service unless you have already registered. If you are under age 18, your parent or guardian must sign your application authorizing the Selective Service to register you when you turn 18. Law prohibits DMV from issuing any type of driver's license or photo ID card to an applicant who is required by federal law to register with the Selective Service but who refuses to authorize DMV to send his information to the Selective Service. If you have questions about Selective Service registration, call 847-688-6888, TTY: 847- 688-2567.

What are driver education requirements in Virginia?

If you are a Virginia resident 19 years of age or older, you must hold a learner's permit for at least 30 days or show proof of completion of a state-approved driver education program.

Driver education programs are available statewide to students, adults and out-of-school youths. Public and private school programs are approved by the Department of Education. Commercial driver training schools follow the same course content and are licensed by DMV.

The program must present 36 classroom periods. It must include components about alcohol safety, drug abuse awareness, aggressive driving, distracted driving, motorcycle awareness and organ and tissue donation awareness. It must also include 14 in-car instruction periods—7 periods of driving and 7 periods of observation.

If you are a home schooler, the classroom and/or behind-the-wheel portions can be taught at home. Visit the DMV web site for suppliers of approved courses. Refer to the "Home-Schooled In-Car Driver Education Information Sheet," HS-3, for additional information.

You will receive a driver education completion certificate when you successfully complete a state-approved driver education program. A copy of your certificate will be sent by your school instructor to DMV for issuance of a permanent driver's license. If you are a home schooler, you must visit a DMV office and successfully complete the road skills test. Refer to the "Home-Schooled In-Car Driver Education Information Sheet, HS-3" for additional information.

If you currently hold a valid out-of-state license but do not have proof of driver education, you may be issued a Virginia six-month temporary license. This will give you time to obtain proof or to complete a state-approved driver education program.

How will I fit driver education into my schedule?

All city high school students are on a block schedule, which means that most classes meet every other day for a double period. During the nine-week driver education course, the class meets 23 times, with each class counting as a double period for a total of 46 classroom periods. Even if a student misses four classes, he or she can still meet state requirements. NNPS also offers an 18-week semester class, but most students opt for the nine-week class to allow them to take another subject.

Behind-the-wheel is a two-week class held Monday through Thursday, two hours a day for a total of 16 hours of instruction, or two hours more than the state requires. Classes are held after school and during the summer.

What special features does the behind-the-wheel program offer?

The behind-the-wheel program offers instruction in both manual and automatic transmission s. NNPS also has specially equipped vehicles for handicapped drivers. Students will cover both basic skills and emergency procedures, such as evasive maneuvers, off-road recovery, and handling skids. In addition

  • NNPS provides student assistants during the first week on the range. The assistants are licensed drivers, and work with students on basic skills. Adults handle all emergency skills and on-road instruction.

  • the NNPS driver education program issues students a 180-day temporary license after they pass the required 45-minute road test. Students are mailed a postcard notifying them of a court date at which they will receive their permanent license.

Are there any restrictions to driving in Virginia?

Special Restrictions
If you have a mental or physical condition that may impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, even temporarily, you must provide DMV with a medical statement from your doctor. Some of these conditions include loss of consciousness, seizures, vision changes, impairment of judgement or loss of motor functions. DMV will evaluate the medical information to determine if a driver's license may be issued or restricted.

Curfew Restrictions
Virginia's curfew laws prohibit drivers under age 18 who hold a learner's permit or driver's license from driving midnight to 4 AM. If you hold a driver's license you may drive during these hours:

  • in case of an emergency;
  • when traveling to and from work or a school-sponsored event;
  • when accompanied by a parent or other adult acting in place of a parent;
  • when responding to an emergency call by volunteer firefighter and rescue squad personnel.

Passenger Restrictions
If you are under age 18, you may carry only one passenger during the first year that you hold your driver's license. After you have held your license for one year, you may carry only three passengers until you reach age 18. Learner's permit holders may not carry more than one passenger under age 18. Passenger restrictions do not apply to family members. Violation of either the passenger or curfew restrictions can result in the suspension of your driver's license.

While you are a minor and if you are unmarried or unemancipated, your father, mother, custodial parent, legal guardian or the judge of the juvenile and domestic relations court in your locality may ask DMV to cancel your permit or license. If cancelled, you cannot reapply for six months.

DMV can deny or suspend driving privileges for persons under age 18 if the juvenile is found delinquent by a court, in need of supervision, involved in an alcohol or drug-related offense, or needs court-assigned services or programs such as counseling.

What do out-of-state or new Virginia residents need to know?

New Residents
If you hold a valid driver's license issued by a U.S. state, territory, jurisdiction, a Canadian province, France or Germany, you may not be required to take the two-part knowledge exam or the road skills test, but you must pass a vision screening. Canadian or U.S. licenses must be surrendered when you apply for a Virginia driver's license. Be sure to photocopy your out-of-state driver's license; you may need it for insurance or licensing purposes.

If your license has been suspended or revoked by another state, a Virginia license may not be issued until your driving record in that state is cleared and you meet Virginia requirements.

Military Personnel
If you are an active-duty member of the Armed Forces stationed in Virginia, you, your spouse and dependent children 16 years and 3 months of age or older may drive with a valid driver's license issued by your home state or country. Vehicles registered in your name may be driven with valid out-of-state license plates if you are the sole owner. If the vehicle is coowned, all co-owners must be active-duty members of the Armed Forces. You may register your vehicle in Virginia without obtaining a Virginia driver's license.

Exchanging Your Out-of-State License (Juvenile Applicants Only)
DMV may exchange your out-of-state license for a Virginia license if you meet the following conditions:

  • You are at least age 16 and three months but under age 19 and hold a valid license; and
  • You have successfully completed a driver education program while residing in another state and the program meets the minimum of 30 classroom hours and six in-car instruction hours and;
  • You can present proof of identity, Virginia residency, and your social security number. You will also need to show proof of legal presence.

Out-of-State Students
If you are enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited school in Virginia and not employed, you may drive in Virginia with a valid out-of-state (or another country) driver's license and valid out-of-state license plates on your vehicle. If you are a full-time student and employed, you are considered a resident of Virginia for the purposes of motor vehicle laws only. This does not necessarily qualify you for in-state tuition rates. Therefore, you must apply for a Virginia driver's license and register your your vehicle in Virginia. You must register the vehicle in Virginia even if it is owned by someone else.

If you are a non-resident temporarily living in Virginia, you may drive with your home state or country driver's license and license plates for no more than six months. This does not apply to commercial vehicle drivers. Contact your local DMV customer service center for more information or call toll free 1-866-DMV-LINE (1-866-368- 5463) or 1-800-435-5137.