The Learning Process
30 hours classroom instruction
3 three-hour classes per week for 3+ weeks
10 hours driving practice
5 two-hour sessions (usually)
After program completion:
6 months minimum of permit driving with qualified driver prior to taking road test
(Must be 16 to take road test)
After passing road test:
6 months with restricted license
A student must be 15 years old the day a series of classes begins. 30 hours of classroom instruction include quizzes, which are given several times during the course. The final written exam requires a score of 80% to pass.
The state requires that any missed classes be made up. This can be done during the next cycle of VDA classes, or by arrangement with the instructor.
Curriculum for driver education in Maine is largely dictated by the state. All driving schools use the same texts, Responsible Driving (Glencoe/McGraw Hill) and the State of Maine Motorist and Study Guide, and choose from the same list of approved DVDs and videos. VDA uses the most current available.
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles mandates that the first two classes include topics such as signs, road markings, signals, right of way, speed limits, visibility and protective systems, basic operating systems, acceleration, deceleration, and steering.
Subsequently, the Academy covers such topics as responding to peer pressure, dealing with weather conditions, emergencies, car systems and maintenance, and preparing for the road test.
Driving begins upon completing the first two classroom sessions, passing an eye test, and meeting physical requirements. Students typically drive in five two-hour segments to attain their ten-hour total of behind-the-wheel instruction.
Students are usually scheduled for individual driving times, but paired sessions are also available if requested. Sessions are scheduled after school and on weekends, and daily during the summer. Usually students can be dropped off at their homes after driving sessions.
Students will drive in a variety of rural, residential, urban, and freeway settings. Skills emphasized include familiarity with vehicle systems and controls, starting the car, pulling into and out of traffic, turns, tracking, braking, backing, turning around, lane changes, yielding, merging, and parking. Safety is emphasized, as are techniques for fuel conservation.
A parental involvement exercise is also an important (and mandated) part of the course. Parents are always welcome to visit classes or to ride along during driving sessions