Compiled by David Luter
With 1.5 million new drivers hitting California’s roads every year, accidents and mishaps are likely to happen. The state tries to mitigate these accidents with new drivers under the age of 18, by having them participate in driver training classes. These classes, once offered in public high schools for free, are now a requirement that people have to take outside of school.
Beatrice Hazelton, owner of Drillers Driving School, and Chris Roberts, co-owner of Shafter Driving School, both long-standing Kern County businesses, were asked what is needed by teens and adults to get their road traveling freedom.
How to obtain a driving permit and driver’s license
What are the requirements for getting a permit?
That depends; the state treats people under the age of 18 differently than those who are older than 18. Minors will need to complete these steps for a permit first: Taking the written test; getting a thumb print and photo taken; providing their social security number; showing their birth certificate and proof of legal presence; providing their full name; completing the application form DL 44; passing a vision exam; and lastly, completing 30 hours of classroom instruction. People who are 18 and older are required to complete the same applications, provide the same verification for an ID and take the same tests; however, they aren’t required to take any courses.
What is needed for a driver’s license after the permit process is complete?
After they have completed these steps, they will be ready for a driver’s license. To get that, they need to have completed six hours of driver training with a professional, as well as 50 hours of driving with someone who has a current license and is over the age of 25 (10 of these hours must be nighttime driving). They will also need proof of insurance and a vehicle in good working order. The current price for students under 18 is $279, which includes four classroom sessions (30 hours total) and six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction. 1700 14th St. in Bakersfield; 635-0654; drillersdrivingschool.com
Things to remember when getting your license
• Make an appointment when going to the DMV.
• Complete the application form DL 44 (an original DL 44 form must be submitted).
• Have your parent’s or guardian’s signatures on the application form DL 44.
• Provide your social security number.
• Verify your birth date and legal presence.
• Provide your true full name.
• Submit the proper form(s) for driver education and/or driver training classes.
• Pay the $24 application fee (This fee entitles you to three exams of any type within the 12-month period and pays for both the instruction permit and the driver’s license. If all requirements are not met within the 12-month period, the application becomes void and all steps must be completed again.)
• Pass a vision exam.
• Pass a traffic laws and sign test. There are 46 questions on the test. A passing score is at least 39 correct answers. You have three chances to pass the test. If you fail, you must wait seven days before taking it again.
Source: Drillers Driving School Education in driving classes
What do students learn in the class?
At our school, students learn the rules of the road and more. We try to give them instruction on a variety of driving related subjects with the use of the DMV handbook, question and answer sessions, videos and discussion. Topics include what to do when an accident occurs, defensive driving techniques, how the roads and road signs are designed to work and using or dealing with motorcycles on the road. Students are also encouraged to observe their parents’ driving skills and share what they learn. Enrollment can start as early as 15 ½ years old. After they complete their required 30 hours, they will receive the forms necessary to allow them to take the DMV written exam.
What do students learn during behind-the-wheel training?
We do our best to make the six hours with us as fun and educational as possible. We provide highly trained instructors, and an insured late model dual control vehicle. Some of the techniques covered are the basics of moving and controlling a vehicle, 25 skills required to drive and stay safe and judgment skills required to stay clear of possible trouble on the road. The current special is $259, and also includes four classroom sessions and six hours of driving instruction. 101 S. James Road in Shafter; 746-4565; shafterdrivingschool.com
Safe driving tips to remember
• Keep your eyes constantly moving, actively scan ahead and behind, your eyes should be constantly moving up and down the road and to the sides.
• Always check the rear view mirror.
• Always leave yourself an out. At all times, try to place your vehicle where you are out of danger.
• Check your blind spots.
• Make sure the other drivers see you.
• Use your headlights, especially on freeways, where improper lane changes are one of the most frequent causes of serious accidents, and on two-lane roads, where vehicles going the other direction are frequently passing slower vehicles.
• Rain and fog are also a time for headlights, as well as twilight.
• Twilight is the time of most accidents. Be careful.
• If another driver does not seem to have noticed you, and it looks as if he might hit you, blinking the headlights may help avoid an accident.
• You should be particularly careful at intersections when a driver is approaching from a side road or already stopped at a stop sign and does not seem to be looking right or left for other traffic as you approach.
• Use turn signals. It is far more than a courtesy; it is a key safety technique.
• You should be at average traffic speed when you enter a freeway and be at average speed when you enter the exit ramp.
Source: Shafter Driving School