Northern Virginia driver education students under age 19 (including current and graduated homeschoolers) are required to attend a 90 minute Partners for Safe Teen Driving presentation along with their parents. This additional component is required by law for all teens and parents residing in “Planning District 8,” which includes Alexandria City, Arlington, Fairfax, Fairfax City, Loudoun, Manassas City, Manassas Park, and Prince William. Families residing outside these school divisions are not required to participate.
The Partners for Safe Teen Driving presentation includes safety presentations and videos, and prepares parents and teens for the in-car/behind the wheel course as well as the required 45 hour component. At the end of the presentation, the attending parent/guardian and student are required to sign an Affirmation of Attendance, DTS-90, to acknowledge completion of the required 90-minute component.
Partners for Safe Teen Driving is only available through the public schools, private schools, and driver training schools which offer classroom instruction. It is not included in the approved correspondence school classroom component courses such as VADETS, driversed.com, etc.
The new law, passed in 2009, orginially created much confusion in the region, and each school division created a slightly different policy for homeschooling families regarding admittance, locations, fees, etc. Several school divisions had not made any provision for homeschooled students at all. At the request of The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers, legislation was passed in 2011 to require school divisions to make this required program available to homeschooling families.
Possible options for fulfilling this requirement:
- If you take the classroom component of driver education through a public school, private school, or driver training school, the Partners for Safe Teen Driving program is automatically included in your tuition.
- If you take the classroom component of driver education through an approved correspondence school course, you must take the Partners for Safe Teen Driving program through a local public or private school. You may be able to attend the same program as your public schooled neighbors, or you may be sent to a separate session for homeschooled and private schooled students. Locations, schedules, and fee policy varies greatly, so call your local school division for information.
- If your family is currently experiencing difficulty with enrolling in this program, one option is to participate through Fairfax County Public School’s Adult Community Education (ACE) program. This particular program is open to all homeschooled and private schooled families, both inside and outside Fairfax County.
Some school divisions are allowing homeschooling families to participate in this program for free, while others are charging fees of up to $30 per family. Contact your local school division for more information.
There is no minimum age for attending Partners for Safe Teen Driving. Most participating attendees are in 10th grade or are around age 15 and 6 months or older.
Teens over age 19 are not required to take Partners for Safe Teen Driving.
Best Time to Take Course
Proof of completion of this program is now required by law in Northern Virginia before the student may begin the in-car/behind the wheel driver education component (either through a parent or a school).
The program is intended to be an integral part of the classroom component of driver education, so it may be most advantageous when taken at this stage of the process.