For Educators in Virginia

Driver Education Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools

The Driver Education Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools provides the framework for the Curriculum Guide for Driver Education in Virginia. As prescribed by §22.1-205 of the Code of Virginia, this curriculum guide serves as the Board of Education’s approved driver-education and traffic-safety program of instruction for public and private school programs. Commercial driver training schools are approved and licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles as prescribed by VR 485-60-9201, and they follow the same course content as public and private school driver education programs.

The classroom and in-car driver education standards focus on safe driving attitudes; time, space, and distance-perception skill development; and the recognition of and appropriate response to hazards in the ever-changing driving environment. Emphasis is placed on linking visual search skills, space management, and maintenance of balanced vehicle control to risk-reducing driving strategies. Significant attention is given to risk awareness, driver alertness, driver distractions, the social and economic consequences of driving, occupant protection, positive interactions with other roadway users, and the physical and psychological conditions that affect driver performance. Students apply basic driving skills in low-to-moderate traffic environments and progress to demonstration of skill proficiency in more complex traffic situations. When possible, teachers are also encouraged to use simulation and other technologies that will enhance student learning.

Successful completion of a state-approved driver education program does not make a teenager a responsible, experienced driver. Traffic safety education involves family, community, industry, government, and personal factors such as motivation, maturity, and perception abilities. These factors play a major role in the development of young safe drivers. Evidence shows that often it is not poor driving skills that cause accidents among this age group, but inexperience and/or poor attitude. The family, not the school, is in the best position to have a sustained effect on minimizing the risks faced by inexperienced drivers and encouraging responsible behaviors. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on extensive supervised practice with a licensed parent or guardian to develop precision in the use of skills, processes, and responsibilities.


The purpose of driver education is to provide students with a detailed understanding of the fundamentals of driving and to foster responsible attitudes and behaviors. As a result of quality traffic-safety instruction, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate a working knowledge of the laws governing the operation of a motor vehicle;
  • identify and analyze the physical and psychological conditions that affect driver performance;
  • apply knowledge, processes, and skills to become safe, competent users of the highway transportation system;
    use visual search skills to make risk-reducing decisions by adjusting speed and/or position;
  • demonstrate balanced vehicle movement through precise and timely steering, braking, and accelerating under a variety of conditions; and
  • display responsible driving behaviors when alone and with peers.