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2016 Resolutions for Young Drivers

2016 New Years Resolutions for Young Drivers(Technically, this could also apply to experienced drivers. So parents, you’re not off the hook.)

Happy New Year!

At Safety 1st, we like to dream big. Our biggest hope for 2016 is that NO young people will be killed as a result of driving accidents (or anything, really, but obviously our focus is on driving).

Our life’s work is to teach young Orange Countians (not a real word) to become safe, skilled drivers. Let’s be real: it’s a tough time to be in this industry. Smart phones and social media seem to have been a major downfall for teenage drivers. It’s so easy to become distracted while driving, and with all the traffic and congestion in Orange County, a driver simply cannot afford to have his or her focus on anything but the road. Especially a young, inexperienced driver.

And even if your teen is a conscientious driver, there’s no guarantee they’re not sharing the road with a maniac.

Sadly, teenagers are risk-takers by nature. (That’s why their insurance is so high, no joke.) They get in more accidents than any other demographic. They drive too fast, follow too closely, and get distracted too easily. Add to that their lack of skill with maneuvering and responding to hazards appropriately, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

On the plus side, cars are being built safer than ever before, and technology is improving constantly to keep drivers’ hands on the wheel at all times. And if awareness keeps being raised, and teenagers are encouraged to make good decisions behind the wheel, AND if parents stay involved in their teens’ lives by modeling and enforcing good driving habits, we believe the statistics can be reversed.

Did you make some New Year’s Resolutions this year? If you did, chances are you focused on bad habits you’d like to quit and good habits you’d like to adopt. Who’s to say that driving habits can’t be a part of those good habits?

We want to encourage all our students, parents, and ALL Orange County drivers, to make the following guidelines part of your New Year’s Resolutions for 2016:

1. I will always wear my seat belt.

Period, end of story. It can save your life.

2. I will NEVER text while driving.

It’s easy enough to say that, until one day something epic happens and your phone is blowing up and you just can’t handle the suspense. So, to make this goal really stick, take some actions such as:

  • silence your phone when you get in the car, and
  • put your phone in your purse, bag, or glove compartment – out of sight until you reach your destination

3. I will keep my eyes on the road – even if my phone beeps or a song comes on that I don’t like.

Distracted driving is a major contributor to accidents. In just a couple of seconds looking away from the road (at your phone, radio, iPod, etc.) a pedestrian can enter the road, you can swerve out of your lane, another driver can be cutting you off – any number of things can happen that can be devastating.

4. I will NEVER drive after drinking or taking any drugs.

If you’re under 21, please don’t drink at all. If you’re 21 or over, please be smart. If you know you’re going out for some drinks, arrange transportation home ahead of time. With Uber and other driving services, it’s easier and cheaper than ever.

If you’re going to a party, stay put. And remember, you may think you’re sober when you’re not yet. Better to be safe than sorry. You do NOT want a DUI, or worse – a DUI and an accident – on your record and your conscience.

5. I will follow the posted speed limits.

Of all the teenage deaths we’ve reported about over the past couple of years, nearly all of them cited high speeds as a factor causing the accident. (This is more often a problem with young men.) Too much can happen out on the roads – it’s better to expect the unexpected and drive defensively, obeying the posted speed limits. They’re there for a reason.

If you have a need for speed, take lessons at a nearby speedway. Otherwise, there are plenty of go kart tracks you can frequent.

6. I will be safer and more cautious, even if it will make me late.

Drive safely, and defensively. We’d rather you arrive to your destination in one piece and an hour late, than not at all.

7. I will be patient with other drivers.

Even if you don’t have road rage, it’s easy to get annoyed with someone driving too slow, or following too closely to you, that you respond with a sudden maneuver or do something emotional and erratic to make your point.

Remember, any sudden move that someone else isn’t ready for could cause an accident. Don’t change lanes quickly without signaling and looking, don’t slam on your brakes, don’t suddenly gun it, and for goodness sake, don’t flip people off. Also remember: there are crazies out on the roads, and some of them may get so angry that they want to hurt you.

Above all, stay safe in 2016! If you need help becoming a more skilled, defensive driver, contact Safety 1st for driving lessons today!


Step 1. Complete our online driver’s education course

Register for our online driver education course. After you complete the required chapters and tests, we will then send you the DMV Certificate of Completion (DL387) that you can take to the DMV when you are ready to take the written test for your learner’s permit.

Our online driver ed course is available to all California residents. You can take our course at your own pace, in your own home in your own time.

Step 2. Study for the DMV written test

You will need to study for the DMV written permit test by reading through the DMV California Driver Handbook. It will benefit you if you take your time and study the handbook so you are comfortable with the information that will be on the test.

Take your time, you don’t want to have to go back to retake the test.

Step 3. Make an appointment at the DMV to take the written exam

It is important that you call ahead of time and schedule an appointment at the local DMV so you can go in and take the written test.

The lines at the DMV are usually very long so you don’t want to waste your time waiting in line. Make sure that you are well prepared for your appointment.

Most DMV’s are open Mondays through Fridays until 5 pm; Some are also open on Saturdays for a few hours so call ahead of time and see which date and times are best for you.

Step 4. Bring necessary documents to the DMV office

  • Complete the application form DL 44, remember the DMV always requires An original to be submitted. Copies will not be accepted in any form, so make sure you have exactly what you need. You can get this form from your local DMV.
  • Have your parents or guardians sign the application form DL 44.
  • Give your right thumbprint.
  • Have your picture taken.
  • Provide your social security #
  • Verify your birth date and legal residence
  • Submit the proper form(s) for Driver Education and/or Driver Training (see below for details)
  • Pay the $28.00 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 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, if you need glasses, wear them.
  • Pass a written test, there are 46 questions on the test.
  • You need a passing score of at least 39 correct answers.
  • You have three chances to pass the test. If you fail, you must wait 7 days before taking it again.


Driver Education and Driver Training Form Requirements:

If you are 15  years of age, you will need to bring with you:

  • Form DL 356 or OL 237 (Completion of Driver Education) with form DL 391 (Driver Training Enrollment ) if your school has a contract with a driving school.


  • Form DL 356 or forms OL 237 and OL 238 (Completion of both Driver Education and Driver Training)


  • Submit form DL 391 or OL 239 (Simultaneous Enrollment in Driver Education and Driver Training)


If you are over 15 but under 18 years of age, you will need to submit:

  • Form DL 356 or OL 237 (Completion of Driver Education)


  • Form DL 391 or OL 239 (Simultaneous Enrollment in Driver Education and Driver Training)


If you are over 17  but under 18 years of age, you may get your permit without the driver education and driver training certificates however, you will not be able to take the driving test until you turn 18.

Once you pass your written test, you will be issued a provisional permit. You can be issued a permit at age 15, but you cannot take the driving test or be issued a driver’s license until you are 16 years of age.

A parent, guardian, spouse, or adult 25 years of age or older, who has a valid California driver’s license, must be with you when you drive. They must sit in a position that allows them to take control of the vehicle, if necessary. It is illegal for you to drive alone at any time.

Before being eligible to take the driving test you must:

  • Be 16 years old
  • Have had your permit for a minimum of six months
  • Have completed driver education
  • Have completed 6 hours of professional driver training
  • Have completed 50 hours of practice with an adult 25 years or older. The adult must have a valid California driver’s license and certify to the 50 hours of practice. At least 10 of the 50 hours must have been done at night.


If driver education and driver training were taken in a state other than California, DMV will accept either a Secondary Schools Other Than California Schools form DL 33 completed by the out-of-state school or a letter on the out-of-state school’s stationery signed by a school official stating that the courses are equivalent to California’s requirements. Instructional permits issued by another state are not acceptable

Step 5. Complete behind the wheel training

When you pass the written exam:

  • You are required to take your first 2 hours of behind the wheel training with a professional driving instructor.
  •  You may start behind the wheel training with your parent/guardian or other licensed drivers who are 25 years of age or older.
  •  You must further complete four (4) more hours of driving school instruction.
  • Complete fifty (50) additional hours of behind the wheel training with a parent/guardian or any other adult who is 25 years old or older. The adult must have a valid California driver license and certify that you’ve had the 50 hours of practice. It is required that 10 of the 50 hours of training is done in the evening.

Step 6. Take the driving test at the DMV

To be eligible to take your driving test you must:

  • Be 16 years old
  • Have had your permit for a minimum of six months
  • Have completed a driver education course
  • Have completed 6 hours of professional driver training
  • Have completed 50 hours of practice with an adult who is 25 years or older. The adult must have a valid California driver license and certify to the 50 hours of practice. At least 10 of the 50 hours must have been done at night.
  • You will also need to show registration and proof of insurance for the vehicle you will be taking your drive test in.
  •  If you fail your drive test, you must wait two weeks before you can take the test again. You have three chances to pass.
    • Driving (behind-the-wheel) retest fee is $6.00.
    • Motorcycle driving (behind-the-wheel) retest fee $6.00.


After you pass your drive test you will be issued an interim license valid for 60 days until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Double-check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect.

If you have not received your license after 60 days, call (916) 657-7790 and they can check on the status for you. Have your interim license with you to provide information when requested.

Step 7. Receive provisional license upon passing the driving test

After you pass the Driving Test, you will be issued a provisional license. Your license will have the following restrictions for the next year: During the first 12 months, you are licensed to drive you must be accompanied by a driver 25 years of age or older if you drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. or if you have passengers under the age of 20 in the car at any time.

Persons under 18 may not be employed to drive a motor vehicle. When you become 18, the provisional part of your license ends. You may continue to drive as an adult using your photo license, which will expire on your 5th birthday after the date you applied.