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Driver's issues and covid


Terabith
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My oldest child turns 18 in mid November.  After having had their learner's permit for 2.5 years, my husband thinks they are ready to take the test for license.  (I am not quite so confident in my kid's skills myself, but I admit I am possibly overly anxious about this.)  We live in Virginia, so there are two options:  

1) To get their license before they turn 18, we have to do in person driver's ed in a car.  There is no option for 1:1 with an instructor, and I do not think there is an option for everyone to be vaccinated.  It would take at least two months, and then technically the driver's ed instructor awards a temporary license and then you have to go to court for a ceremony where the judge yells at the kids before they get their permanent license.  This makes me very nervous from a covid point of view.  

2) We wait until kid is 18 and schedule an in car test with the DMV and go there and do the test with a DMV instructor.  This would be way simpler.  I am not sure if we could schedule the test before they turn 18 so that we take the test as close to birthday as possible.  It can take a long time to get an appointment.  

My kid is not chomping at the bit to get their license, but it would be very handy for them to have it.  In practice, I'm not sure that we could really actually get it done much before they turn 18, because of scheduling the in car training and then the 6 weeks of classes.  I have no idea what the rules are if you do the in car training but aren't scheduled to go to court until after birthday.  Google is completely failing me on this regard too.  

What should we do?  

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I think you should move.  The requirement to go to court to be yelled at a judge during a pandemic is one of the most ridiculous things about your state.  

If you decide to ignore my sage advice, can you try and make the appointment now to see if they'll let you schedule it for the day after their birthday before deciding?  

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2 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I think you should move.  The requirement to go to court to be yelled at a judge during a pandemic is one of the most ridiculous things about your state.  

If you decide to ignore my sage advice, can you try and make the appointment now to see if they'll let you schedule it for the day after their birthday before deciding?  

Apparently we cannot schedule an appointment at the DMV, because they only schedule 3 months out, which puts them just before their birthday.  But there are not really any appointments within that time.  

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Just now, Danae said:

Court?  For a driver’s license?  Are there other states that do that?  That is really weird.

Yeah, it's stupid.  You go to court, the judge screams at the kids about not using drugs or texting or whatever, and then awards them their license.  The whole thing would be pretty traumatic I expect.  

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55 minutes ago, Terabith said:

 

Apparently we cannot schedule an appointment at the DMV, because they only schedule 3 months out, which puts them just before their birthday.  But there are not really any appointments within that time.  

Can you count out 3 months before their birthday and try to make the appointment at midnight when it turns that day? Like in the old days of scheduling covid vaccines?

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8 minutes ago, KSera said:

Can you count out 3 months before their birthday and try to make the appointment at midnight when it turns that day? Like in the old days of scheduling covid vaccines?

That's a reasonable plan.  

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2 hours ago, Terabith said:

 

1) To get their license before they turn 18, we have to do in person driver's ed in a car.  There is no option for 1:1 with an instructor 

I am befuddled. How are they not 1:1 while doing driver's ed in the car? When my kids did it, there was sometimes a 3rd person briefly in the car, because they would have Student 1 end their lesson by driving to Student 2's house, and Student 2 would drive Student 1 home or something. Or do you mean just the class part?

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6 minutes ago, katilac said:

I am befuddled. How are they not 1:1 while doing driver's ed in the car? When my kids did it, there was sometimes a 3rd person briefly in the car, because they would have Student 1 end their lesson by driving to Student 2's house, and Student 2 would drive Student 1 home or something. Or do you mean just the class part?

The usual protocol is to have 2 or 3 kids in the car with the instructor, and they take turns driving.  I did find someone who says that last summer, one driving school did 1:1 instruction because of covid.  I will call and see if they're going back to that as an option.

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I’d go for option B, wait until they are 18.

Since it doesn’t sound like getting their license is of utmost importance and they wouldn’t get it much earlier with option A anyway, I’d keep it simple and opt to wait. The first sounds like a logistical, emotional and ridiculous nightmare. Is there much benefit to going that route that would make it feel worthwhile for them? 

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10 hours ago, Terabith said:

The whole thing would be pretty traumatic I expect. 

A person who finds this traumatic probably shouldn't be driving.  That said, what a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

I'd just wait until after their birthday.

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9 hours ago, katilac said:

I am befuddled. How are they not 1:1 while doing driver's ed in the car? When my kids did it, there was sometimes a 3rd person briefly in the car, because they would have Student 1 end their lesson by driving to Student 2's house, and Student 2 would drive Student 1 home or something. Or do you mean just the class part?

When I took driver\s ed in VA back in the late 70's, it was a part of PE.  In 10th grade, you just did driver's ed for your quarter that you normally would have had health.  We had an in-class portion, and then an actual driver\s ed portion.  In my driver's ed driving period, they didn't have enough kids born before Jan, so I unexpectedly ended up getting the driving portion first.  Then I got placed in the latest time slot after school too so I had the real fun of getting driver\s ed in DC suburbs hell rush hour period,.  Back then, we just did the test on our birthday or whenever we could with our parent coming- not through school and got the license the same way as anyone else.

This court thing is totally stupid-  I bet no one has done any studies as to effectiveness.  I think it probably has zero effectiveness.

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1 hour ago, EKS said:

A person who finds this traumatic probably shouldn't be driving.  That said, what a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

I'd just wait until after their birthday.

I would find being yelled at by a judge in a court pretty traumatic myself, and I've been driving just fine for almost 30 years.  Both of my kids have pretty severe anxiety, and I really do have concerns about how it will interact with driving.  But I think driving in our area is a life skill; you really cannot live independently as an adult without a license, as I found out when I lost mine for six months after being hospitalized for depression a few years ago.  The anxiety is why this kid has had their permit for 2.5 years.  I think at some point you have to do the things that you are terrified of, even if you are scared.  

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FWIW, when L did driver's ed in May, it was 1-1 due to COVID, rather than smaller groups. It meant that instead of going out for more time in a group of 2-3 and trading off, they did shorter sessions.  It's also a 2-3 month wait to get an appointment for road testing anyway. 

 

So, I think it comes down to-what will be most comfortable for your DC-would they be more comfortable doing driver's ed first (and testing with the instructor) or doing the test directly. For mine, I felt doing driver's ed was helpful because it gave experience in a smaller vehicle (I have the Kia Sedona I bought when L was in kindergarten) and with someone else. But May also was a time when I felt reasonably safe sending a vaccinated teen to drive around with an adult who was also masked. 

 

Also, check your insurance. For us, the price of driver's ed will be made up for in reductions for ONE year of having a teen driver on our insurance. But again, that may change if the driver is 18 vs 16. 

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1 hour ago, EKS said:

A person who finds this traumatic probably shouldn't be driving.  That said, what a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

I'd just wait until after their birthday.

That makes no sense,.  I think the whole yelling at teens at court when they have done nothing is sure to be at least an unpleasant experience and for many, a way to trigger anxiety issues surrounding courts.  However, people with some anxiety are probably better drivers than people with no anxiety.  They would be less likely to do idiotic things like drink and drive, I would believe.  I don't know if anyone has studied.

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4 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I would find being yelled at by a judge in a court pretty traumatic myself, and I've been driving just fine for almost 30 years.  Both of my kids have pretty severe anxiety, and I really do have concerns about how it will interact with driving.  But I think driving in our area is a life skill; you really cannot live independently as an adult without a license, as I found out when I lost mine for six months after being hospitalized for depression a few years ago.  The anxiety is why this kid has had their permit for 2.5 years.  I think at some point you have to do the things that you are terrified of, even if you are scared.  

Having grown up in VA, I found it traumatic because there is a feeling that you've done something wrong just in stepping into the courthouse-and this was before security had gotten quite so intense. And it was definitely handled in a "if you do something wrong, you'll be back to see me, and I'll send you to jail" way. Very intimidating. 

 

FWIW, my teen found classroom driver's ed very anxiety producing because there was a strong focus on injuries, property damage, death and legal liability, and was much more graphic than just studying for the test had been. So that might be another reason to consider waiting until 18. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Dmmetler said:

Having grown up in VA, I found it traumatic because there is a feeling that you've done something wrong just in stepping into the courthouse-and this was before security had gotten quite so intense. And it was definitely handled in a "if you do something wrong, you'll be back to see me, and I'll send you to jail" way. Very intimidating. 

 

FWIW, my teen found classroom driver's ed very anxiety producing because there was a strong focus on injuries, property damage, death and legal liability, and was much more graphic than just studying for the test had been. So that might be another reason to consider waiting until 18. 

 

 

Lyr did the in class portion of driver's ed back in 2019.  Currently the in class portion and the in car portion are pretty widely separated.  The idea is you do the class portion, take the test to get the permit, drive with your parents for nine months, then go back and do the in car part.  

I will call a couple driving schools today and ask if they allow 1:1 instruction.  I asked on Facebook, and some folks have mentioned other schools that at least were doing 1:1, so that's more promising.  Driver's schools might know if they're doing the court thing, too.  

The insurance question is a good one.  Other than my worries about covid, I really would prefer my kid have the experience of the in car driver's training, because I think it would be helpful to them.  

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9 minutes ago, Dmmetler said:

FWIW, my teen found classroom driver's ed very anxiety producing because there was a strong focus on injuries, property damage, death and legal liability, and was much more graphic than just studying for the test had been. So that might be another reason to consider waiting until 18. 

Same here. That may be helpful (probably not from our experience) for those who have no fear about driving already, but it’s super counterproductive for those who are highly fearful about it.

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24 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I would find being yelled at by a judge in a court pretty traumatic myself, and I've been driving just fine for almost 30 years. 

Even if you knew it was an act?

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I'm in VA and my boys just got their learner's permits.  At this point, we will be doing the 45 hours of behind the wheel (15 of those at night) with them, getting a driving instructor for the last 7 hours, and going the route of getting the little yellow ticket from the driving instructor and going to court 3 months later.  I've heard it is a nightmare for homeschoolers to get an appt for the driving test at DMV.  My guys just turned 16 so we have time and it is going to take us a while to get through 45 hours of behind the wheel times 2 boys.

They did their 30 hours of instruction on-line as homeschoolers.

If anyone has watched the 90 minutes parent/teen videos/class as listed on the DMV website, all that is kind of mentioned when they go to court to get their permanent license.

 

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19 minutes ago, EKS said:

Even if you knew it was an act?

Depending on the day- yes.  Do you have any anxiety issues?  I have GAD- general anxiety disorder and most of the time, I am fine.  I just have more anxiety than average.  (My anxiety levels dropped after menopause).  But I have anxiety triggers and these make my anxiety jump up--- none involve driving at all.  Mine are kind of hard to explain but are a combo of money/bureaucracy/general incompetence issues.  They arose from after my father died when I was 13 and it took 2 to 2 months for the survivor;s money to come.  Then when I was in college still receiving my social security, first ss inappropriately canceled my  SS, then they reversed it and then a thief stole the check, had a deal with a cash checking place and cashed my check with something like 8 months of SS payments.  The way I knew he had some deal with check cashing place was because he misspelled my name so wrongly-- turned my first name -into 2, etc.   Altogether, as a poor college student - this was very traumatic.  At least the recheck was issued not to long.  What does my anxiety about money issues have anything to do with driving?

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I’m in VA...couple of thoughts having done this during the pandemic with a homeschooled teen...

*You don’t have to do the in person lessons in the car with an instructor. You can apply to be the instructor with the state if you are homeschooling parent. And then once you get approved you do the lessons yourself and they take the test at the DMV. For you, that probably wouldn’t be helpful since he’s almost 18 and you could just do the test at the DMV pretty soon anyway. But for others reading who might be in VA I thought I’d mention it. 

*It was a bit of a pain to schedule the driving test during Covid. That would probably also be true after he is 18. At the time we did it last summer, there were not a lot of options. I just went online ever day for a few days until I got an appointment. We ended up driving about 2 hours away to do the test but the nice thing is that we went to an area that clearly had more homeschoolers and was really aware of the law. Here in NOVA, I’ve had friends who went to do the test and knew way more about what was allowed than the DMV people. But that was last August and things had just opened up. It’s probably easier now to get an appointment. I know other people who have done it and were able to go locally. 

*They waived the court thing and did it as a Zoom thing with the judge. It was literally about 5 minutes and no one yelled. 😃 I don’t know if they are still doing the Zoom thing but I’m pretty sure they are waiving the court requirement. They just mailed him his license after taking the exam. I also know a lot of people who did it before Covid and they didn’t say it was yelling.. they described it more as a ceremony that was supposed to emphasize how driving is a big responsibility. So maybe it depends on the judge you get. 

*I grew up in VA also but back in the day where I feel like they just handed us a license and said “have fun.” At least compared to now. 😂

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1 hour ago, Dmmetler said:

FWIW, my teen found classroom driver's ed very anxiety producing because there was a strong focus on injuries, property damage, death and legal liability, and was much more graphic than just studying for the test had been. So that might be another reason to consider waiting until 18. 

 

 

Both my kids were much less enthusiastic about learning to drive after classroom driver's ed.  I get some kids might benefit from drilling that side of it but ugh my kids definitely did not.  My 20 year old to this day still barely wants to drive.  My 17 year old doesn't have her permit yet, she just needs to take the written test.  

Anyway - I would probably wait given the OPs situation unless the kid was really pushing to learn sooner.  

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