Teens who are at least 15 years and 6 months old are able to apply for a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card. Teens must pass a driving knowledge test and vision screening and provide proof of age, identity and Social Security number as well as provide parental consent before a TIPIC is issued. Teens holding a TIPIC who are under 16 years of age must only drive with a parent, guardian or driving instructor in the front passenger seat, while teens over 16 may drive in the presence of any license holder over the age of 21. Before obtaining a driver's license, TIPIC holders must complete 24 hours of classroom driving instruction, eight driving hours with a certified instructor, 50 documented driving hours with 10 hours of night driving and have held the TIPIC for at least six months.
License Holders Under Age 17
Teens who have been issued a probationary driver license and are under 17 years old must carry only one passenger, who is not a family member, unless a parent or guardian is also a passenger in the vehicle. Driving between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. is prohibited, unless the teen is accompanied by a parent or guardian. In addition, teens who receive a driving violation within their first six months holding a license must have a parent or guardian accompany them while driving for six months following the violation, or until the teen turns 17 years old.
Licensed teen drivers who are between the ages of 17 and 18 are not eligible to drive between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. unless driving to school or work or accompanied by a parent or guardian. Teens who acquire three moving vehicle violations before age 18 have their license suspended for a year and certain single violations before age 18 result in a six month suspension. All teenage drivers must provide enough seatbelts for all passengers.
Doting parents are often on the edge of their seats when their teen begins driving, but gifts related to road safety can help assure them of their teen's safety. An ideal gift is a roadside safety kit, which includes flares, emergency signage, a first-aid kit, shovel, whistle, flashlight and blanket. If you live in wintry climate, winter emergency essentials such as candles, hard warmers, non-perishable food items and bottles of water come in handy. A lighthearted card, in which you remind your teen you won't be paying for her speeding tickets, adds levity to these gifts.
Stick to the Basics
Every car should carry a basic selection of items that motorists occasionally need, and many of these items make ideal gifts. This list includes jumper cables, a jug or two of windshield washer fluid, a replacement set of windshield washer blades, a tire pressure gauge and map. Fun, inexpensive gifts include air fresheners or a key chain, ideally featuring something in which your teen is interested, such as a sports team's logo. Provide some fun by offering a few gift cards to fast-food restaurants, malls or movie theaters -- places your teen will likely visit with friends once driving.
Customize the Ride
Although you've stressed the importance of safety while driving countless times, a number of gifts will give your teen reason to smile when behind the wheel. A GPS device helps your teen avoid getting lost, while a customized license plate frame, steering wheel cover, floor mats or a jokey bumper sticker can make the teen's vehicle feel as though it's his own. If your teen is keen on automotive customization, a gift card to a body shop, a window-tint kit, or -- if your ears can stand it -- an aftermarket stereo system is a step in the right direction.
A Helping Hand
Your teen will soon learn the considerable expense of driving, and she might occasionally be stranded at home until her next paycheck. Ease some of the financial burden of driving by giving your teen a gift card for a gas station or vouchers for free car washes. Signing your teen up for a gas station rewards card, which often has no cost, is an added gift that can benefit your teen financially. If you live in an area with toll roads, a toll pass can prevent her from having to fumble for change at toll booths and make her feel grown up in front of her friends.
The off-the-road portion of the training typically takes place in a classroom, though some driving schools offering online courses. The cost varies depending on the size of the class, number of training hours and extras like textbooks and workbooks. According to Cost Helper, the average cost for the classroom portion of driving lessons ranges from $30 to $180, as of 2014.
Student drivers also receive hands-on training with a driving instructor. Behind-the-wheel costs vary depending on the area of the country and the number of training hours. In 2014, the average cost for a two-hour lesson was between $50 and $150, according to Cost Helper. The cost can also vary depending on current gas prices and whether it is a private one-on-one lesson or a group lesson. Some schools combine classroom and behind-the-wheel training for one price, which on average is $300 to $450, according to Cost Helper.
Learning to drive can involve additional costs like taking the state written and driving tests. The costs vary greatly state by state, with some states including the written, driving and license fees into one price.
The general purpose of driver's education is to give your teen the foundation to help him feel safe, alert and comfortable behind the wheel. He'll learn everything from traffic laws -- specific to your state -- to actually practicing driving skills, parking and other techniques so he's more comfortable on the road. Driver's ed usually combines class time and lectures with hands-on practice time on a course and, eventually, on the road.
Driver's ed is more than just a nice way to get familiar with driving -- in most states, it's a requirement for getting a license. According to April 2012 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 23 states require driver's ed for drivers younger than 18, while 25 states do not require driver's ed before age 18 but do allow licenses for younger drivers with the addition of driver's ed. Insurance costs are usually lower for teen drivers who have completed a course, so it's likely worth both your teen's time and your money.
Most driver's ed courses and classes will have similar curricula and requirements. Before your teen signs up, make sure the chosen course is state-approved and the instructor is licensed to teach driver's ed, warns the Highway Safety Center at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Each course is structured around 45 hours of in-class education where your teen will learn about traffic laws and driving methodology. Then, she will have at least eight hours of behind-the-wheel training with an instructor to give her some hands-on practice.
While driver's education is regulated by the state, don't expect one course to teach your teen everything he needs to know about operating a motor vehicle. While courses are heavy on methodology and traffic laws, your teen will need plenty of practice to feel comfortable and safe on the road. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry notes that parents are in the ideal position to help teens become better drivers. By helping your teen get more real-world practice -- and by staying patient and calm during the process -- you can help complement driver's education by helping him develop driving confidence.