Driver’s Education

Teen driving a car

Driver education is taught as part of health and physical education in the tenth grade. The program consists of classroom training, driving simulation, and behind-the-wheel training. The classroom and in-car driver education standards are intended to help students develop a conceptual understanding of safe driving practices. The classroom phase of driver education consists of 36 hours of instruction. The Virginia Standards of Learning stress safe driving skills and safe driving attitudes. Emphasis is placed on linking the skills of visual search, managing time and space, and maintaining vehicle balance. Significant attention is given to awareness of risks, maintenance of alertness, driver distractions, and protection of occupants.

Driver License Information

In order to obtain a Virginia driver's license, the student must be a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia and at least 16 years and three months of age. Students must hold a learner’s permit for nine months before receiving their Virginia driver’s license.

  • Students younger than 18 must have a parent, foster parent, or guardian certify that they have driven a motor vehicle for at least 50 hours that includes a minimum of 15 hours after sunset.
  • The behind-the-wheel instructor will administer the road test. If the student successfully passes the test, meets all the licensing requirements, and the school receives written permission from the parent to license the child, the school will issue the student a 180-day temporary provisional driver’s license which serves as a valid Virginia driver’s license when accompanied by a learner’s permit. 

To obtain a learner's permit, the student must be at least 15 years and six months of age, which is a DMV requirement. If the student is under the age of 18, he/she must provide written consent from a parent or legal guardian. The student must also have completed a state-approved driver education program.

Students who fail the DMV knowledge test three times must subsequently complete a classroom driver education course before being eligible to take the test a fourth time.

Behind-the-Wheel Driving Instruction

Everyone under the age of 18 who wishes to obtain a Virginia driver’s license is required to pass a state-approved behind-the-wheel program (BTW). Each Hanover County high school has a BTW program, and the current cost is $200. Students may also take BTW at a state-approved private driving school. The cost at a private driving school will vary with the school as each sets its own price.

In order to take Behind-the-Wheel at Patrick Henry High School, the student must:

  1. Successfully complete the classroom portion of driver’s education.
  2. Have held a learner’s permit for at least six months. (Students must hold the learners permit for nine months to get a license.)
  3. Complete the BTW application.
  4. Have completed and documented at least 50 hours of guided practice. At least 15 of those hours must take place after sunset.
  5. Turn in the completed application, 50-hour driving log, and pay the $200 fee to Mr. LeStourgeon.
  6. Once the paperwork is turned in, the student will be placed on the BTW list based on the date the student is eligible to get his or her driver’s license (nine months from the day their learner’s permit was issued). Parents will be notified as soon as a spot with an instructor opens up. We have instructors that drive before school from 6:30 to 8:10 a.m. and others that drive after school from 3:30 to 5:10 p.m. Please let Mr. LeStourgeon know if a student cannot drive in the morning (because of an early morning class, for example) or after school (sports).

Each student will drive for seven sessions. Each session lasts 100 minutes. Students will drive for 50 minutes and observe another student driver for 50 minutes. Students will be exposed to as many different driving experiences as time allows. We drive all year round, so don’t worry if your date of eligibility is not until July or August.

Behind-the-Wheel Forms


W. Lance LeStourgeon

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.