July 7, 2014

Parent-Instructed Driver’s Education Remains Unapproved

Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Washington. He and his wife homeschool their children. Read more >>

One thousand dollars—that’s the cost for an HSLDA member family, living in the San Juan Islands, to have their two children attend a state-approved driving school on the mainland in order to get their driver’s licenses.

The family requested a waiver of the traffic safety education requirement from the Washington Department of Licensing (WDOL) after this cost increased over 70% since the last time one of their children took the course.

They also noted that their two current driver’s ed students had already completed the National Driver Training course, a parent-instructed program with over 30 hours of classroom time and 50 hours behind the wheel. Additionally, the members cited the financial hardship it would mean to their family if their daughters were still required to attend the state-approved driving school.

Request Denied

Unfortunately the WDOL denied their waiver request, stating that National Driver Training course was not approved by the State of Washington. Department officials also dismissed the high cost of the only program that was located within a reasonable distance of the family’s home.

Parent-instructed driver’s training programs has been debated previously in Washington, and this family’s situation is a classic example of why it might to be addressed again. HSLDA encourages Washington member families to contact their state legislators regarding this issue, requesting legislation that creates a more economical and family-friendly pathway for students to get their driver’s licenses. The current system creates isolated pockets of limited programs that can charge exorbitant fees to take a driver’s training course.

HSLDA is reviewing the situation to see if there is any legal recourse for our member family in this situation.

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