Completing a Hawaii drivers ed course is required before any driver who is under the age of 18 can apply for a new license in Hawaii. HI minors cannot satisfy this requirement with a drivers ed online course because both classroom instruction and Behind the Wheel (BTW) training is a requirement of certified education programs. While new adult drivers can sign up for many education programs, they are not typically required to do so before being able to submit an application for a license.

Hawaii drivers can enroll in state-approved drivers education courses at high schools on all the main islands and at several private schools in larger cities. At most schools, drivers who meet the course requirements can easily sign up by contacting the course administrator at their nearest education provider. Completing the course to the best abilities of the student driver will prepare him or her to safely operate a motor vehicle and receive his or her HI driver’s license. The cost for these courses varies significantly between programs. Enrollees can read on to learn more about education programs for drivers in Hawaii.

Who needs to take drivers ed in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, drivers ed classes must be completed by all minors applying for a first-time license through the state’s recently established Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. In order to sign up for a course, HI residents must pass the drivers ed test that is part of the learner’s permit application process along with the vision screening exam.

The permit test has a written knowledge-based exam on road rules and best practices in Hawaii. A learner’s permit is only available to minor drivers who are 15-and-a-half years of age and older.

Types of Drivers Ed Classes in Hawaii

Young HI drivers can sign up for teen driving school after they have successfully received their permit and are ready to get some practice behind the wheel. While some schools offer both teen and adult drivers ed options, some schools limit course participation to teenagers applying for their first license. Many courses taught at public high schools are restricted to minors living in the area. Private schools sometimes offer a wider variety of course options, including the ability to sign up for only certain elements of the typical course package.

Unlike in some states, parent taught drivers ed courses are not usually state-certified and will not satisfy the state’s education requirement for new teen drivers. Some schools allow drivers to sign up for just the classroom-based driver education course without the BTW portion or vice versa when enrolling, if the student has arranged another way to satisfy the state’s total education requirement. Private schools often offer a wider selection of driving course options that include additional elements not required by the state.

What will you learn in a Hawaii drivers ed school?

New drivers cannot enroll in an online drivers ed course to receive the credit necessary to apply for the next level of license in the GDL program and must instead enroll in a classroom-based program. Young drivers must take the drivers ed course in person so that they are able to interact with the instructor and learn by demonstration.

In addition to these practical skills, drivers can expect to learn about local and state laws governing the roadways, legal consequences for breaking the rules of the road, defensive driving skills and more. All drivers ed programs will cover the following content areas:

  • The most common causes of crashes and potential consequences of accidents
  • How to maintain the proper attitude for safe driving
  • The role of the driver in following traffic laws
  • Basic driving practices and skills
  • Ensuring pedestrian safety as a vehicle operator
  • Driving in difficult driving conditions and handling emergencies behind the wheel
  • Issues that can influence a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely, like alcohol, distracted driving and texting.

Hawaii Drivers Education Requirements

In order for a drivers ed school to offer qualified education programs accepted by the state, each course must include at least 37 hours of classroom-based instruction and six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction completed. These programs cannot be completed in less than six weeks. In Hawaii, drivers education classes taught online or by parents are not state-certified and therefore ineligible to meet the state’s new driver education requirements.

Drivers must be at least 15 years of age in order to sign up for a qualified education course. These requirements do not apply to adult drivers applying for a license for the first time in Hawaii. Once completed, the driver should be prepared to begin practicing behind the wheel of a car and on the path to earning his or her full license.

Benefits of a Hawaii Driver Education Course

While taking drivers education classes is a requirement for all minors who would like a new driving license, adults can also enroll in similar programs to take advantage of the many benefits offered through the course. Teen drivers ed will not only teach students the basics of road safety, driving and traffic laws in Hawaii and how to operate basic cars, but also how to deal with the multiple stressors that can impact a driver while behind the wheel.

In addition, many drivers receive small discounts from their auto insurance provider and credit from their high schools (if applicable) after completing a qualified course. The state government of Hawaii hopes graduates of the program will be less likely to cause or be impacted by road accidents and the like.

How to Enroll in a Hawaii Driver Ed School

Teen drivers ed programs in Hawaii are signed up for on an individual basis through the specific course provider. There is no specific DMV drivers ed enrollment procedure that is standard across programs, as all certified providers have their own enrollment process.

Most courses taught in schools must be signed up for directly through the school, while courses taught by qualified third-party providers can sometimes be signed up for over the phone, online and in-person. Registering for a course generally requires students to provide proof of identification, in order to receive the appropriate completion certificate at the end of the program.

New drivers in Hawaii seeking more information about enrolling in both teen and adult drivers education programs can contact a Highway Safety Specialist from IDOT for more information over the phone (808-587-5687), via fax (808-587-6303) or through the mail:

98-339 Ponohana Pl.,
Aiea, HI  96701

Hawaii DMV Drivers Ed Certificates

In Hawaii, students cannot use a completion certificate from drivers ed online classes or courses taught by parents to meet the state’s minimum driver education requirements. Instead, young drivers must enroll in a state-certified drivers education school and complete both the classroom-based instruction section and the behind-the-wheel portion in order to receive the necessary completion certificates for both parts.

At the end of the program, the course provider will give paper copies of certificates to successful students. Students can then present this document to the GOT with their application for a conditional driver’s license.

Drivers Ed for New Hawaii Residents

Young drivers who have completed an equivalent driver ed school in another state may not be required to enroll in another program in Hawaii. Out-of-state adult drivers ed online programs or other teen drivers ed options that meet Hawaii DOT requirements allow new residents to get Hawaii credentials without additional testing.

Even if a young driver has completed a similar education program in his or her previous state of residence, enrolling in a HI program can still be beneficial for learning the specific rules and techniques of navigating around the Hawaiian islands.

Hawaii Drivers Ed vs. Traffic School

It is easy to confuse the HI driver education program required by the state of Hawaii for teen drivers with traffic school for licensed drivers. Unlike high school drivers ed, traffic school is primarily geared towards adult drivers or teens who already possess their full license to learn more details about the Hawaiian road rules and consequences for breaking the law.

Traffic school is not required to receive a new license, but may be required by a court for an existing driver after receiving a citation or otherwise breaking the law. Traffic school courses come in a variety of formats and coverage options, offered by several private schools across the islands and online.

Hawaii Driver Education Fees

Drivers ed prices for teen drivers in Hawaii vary significantly from program to program. The cost of drivers ed classes taught in public schools are generally determined by the school’s administration and may sometimes be completely subsidized by the school for currently enrolled students. Course packages offered by state-approved private schools range in price, generally costing the student at least a few hundred dollars.

Last updated on Monday, March 2 2020.