Online-only driver’s education courses proposed

A bill was heard and laid over in the Transportation Finance Committee this week that would authorize online-only driver education programs through private companies for applicants under 18 years old seeking to receive a driver instruction permit. Online programs would need approval from the commissioner of public safety and behind-the-wheel hours would still be required in addition to the online coursework.

Online programs would need to provide customer support through a telephone number, store course content and student data on a secure server, and update course content uniformly statewide. The curriculum would need to ensure the identity of the student taking the course, measure the amount of time the student spends on each course section, use a pool of rotating quiz questions, and allow students to measure their performance.

Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) is continuing to work with the author of this legislation to remain neutral on the bill. The agency requests the requirements for online driver’s education match that of in-person driver’s education to maintain the high standards for course completion. The department will also need adequate funding for a staff position to manage and audit online driver’s education programs. (S.F. 255)