For Educators in Virginia

Driver Education Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools

The Virginia Department of Education is responsible for approving driver education programs in the commonwealth’s public and private schools. Driver education programs in Virginia schools focus on safe driving attitudes, skill development and appropriate responses to hazards. The commonwealth’s standards for driver education require extended supervised practice with a licensed parent or guardian to develop precision in the application of skills and processes to effectively manage risks.

CLICK HERE  for the 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, which defines the skills and competencies necessary to become a proficient user of the highway transportation system. As prescribed by §22.1-205 of the Code of Virginia, the curriculum guide serves as the Board of Education’s approved program of study for public, private, and commercial driver training school programs. Public and private school driver education programs are approved by the Board of Education, and commercial driver training schools are approved and licensed by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

The Driver Education Standards of Learning focus on core concepts and procedures and set clear, concise, and measurable expectations for novice drivers. The standards, which have been refined through public hearings and numerous rounds of feedback from parents, teachers, administrators, and representatives from higher education, are informed by teachers’ experience, content experts, research and national standards. Parents are encouraged to work with their children to help them achieve these standards, and teachers are encouraged to use simulation and other technologies to enhance student learning.

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 and maturity. Evidence shows that often it is not poor driving skills that lead to crashes among this age group, but inexperience, inappropriate attitude, and/or lack of decision-making skills. 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 driving practice with a licensed parent, guardian or other mentor.


The purpose of driver education is to provide students with a detailed understanding of the fundamentals of driving and to foster responsible driving 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 responsible habits and behaviors and understand how physical and psychological conditions affect driver performance;
  • apply knowledge, processes, and skills to become safe, competent users of the highway transportation system;
  • use visual search skills and a systematic decision-making process 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;
  • display responsible driving behaviors when alone and with peers;
  • interact safely with other roadway users by predicting vehicle performance, avoiding conflicts, and minimizing and managing risks;
  • identify how advancements in intelligent handling and stability technology systems affect driving practices;
  • engage in meaningful, extensive supervised practice to progress from simple to more complex driving skills in low, moderate, and higher risk driving environments; and
  • master precision movements for maintaining optimal vehicle balance and control in expected as well as unexpected circumstances.