In many states, behind-the-wheel time during the licensing process for new drivers is accomplished in the presence of a licensed parent, guardian or qualified adult. This qualification typically entails having a driver's license for a certain number of years without incident, depending on the regulations of the state licensing authority. The trainee driver is responsible for accruing a certain number of hours behind the wheel prior to taking a driving exam with the state's licensing agency.
Some states require enrollment in an approved driver's education program. Although the coursework may be conducted in person or online, the behind-the-wheel training is always conducted in the presence of a qualified instructor. Many states require in-car observation by an instructor prior to taking a driver's license road test.
Generally, the classroom portion of a driver's education course, whether conducted in person or online, concludes with successfully obtaining a learner's permit that allows motor vehicle operation with a qualified license-holder present. Obtaining a learner's permit usually involves passing a written driver's exam. This test is designed to confirm the trainee's knowledge of safe vehicle operation, including stopping times, identification of automobile components and the correct reactions to various road conditions.
Most states allow minors to enroll in driver education courses after reaching 16 years of age.