Many teens unable to receive driver’s licenses

Students can complete driving requirement in Phase 3
July 6, 2020

For most high school sophomores, turning 16 comes with a license to drive. 

However, students who were unable to complete mandatory behind-the-wheel driving requirements before schools closed due to COVID-19 are passing this milestone not knowing when they’ll receive their Graduated Driver’s License.

Delaware law requires anyone under age 18 to complete a state-approved driver education course in order to receive the GDL. 

At Cape High, the nine-week course is offered during a student’s sophomore year. The 44-hour driver education course consists of a minimum of 30 hours of classroom instruction and at least seven hours of in-car training, consisting of driving and observation hours.

Cape High driver education teacher Shannon Timmons said the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles is now accepting appointments for students who completed the in-class and in-car portion of the class and took the final exam to obtain their GDLs.

Students who did not start or complete the in-car portion of the class also took the final exam, but are not eligible to receive their GDLs.

“Due to social distancing guidelines we aren't able to have students participate in the in-car phase of the course at this time,” Timmons said. “Whenever the restriction lifts, our instructors will be ready to go and will provide instruction to our students behind the wheel, as we always have.” 

Delaware Department of Education spokesperson Alison May said DOE informed driver education teachers that the Delaware Division of Public Health will allow behind-the-wheel driving to resume when the state enters Phase 3. 

“More information such as safety guidelines will follow as soon as they become available from the Division of Public Health,” May said.

May said teachers are to work with their administrators on how to implement behind-the-wheel instruction, and inform students and parents when the plan is in place.

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