In New Mexico, drivers ed is a component of the Graduated Driver License (GDL) program. This program is designed to gradually introduce driving skills and experiences to young, new drivers. Drivers education is required for any new driver younger than 18 years of age interested in obtaining a driver’s license. The education program aims to promote safety and responsibility behind the wheel. Aspiring drivers must be at least 15 years of age by the end of the classroom segment of the course in order to enroll.

Unlike some states, drivers ed online is not an approved option for new drivers in New Mexico. Motorists must take an approved training course either at their public or private high school or at a verified driving school in the state. Before enrolling in a driving school, motorists must ensure that it has been approved by the state in order to apply the credit toward the GDL requirements.

Who needs to take drivers ed in New Mexico?

Driver education is mandatory in New Mexico for new drivers younger than 18 years of age. Teen driving school (a more common term for the requirement) teaches young motorists about essential laws and rules of the road. They are the most at-risk age group when it comes to crashes and violations.

Young motorists must enroll in an education program to not only learn how to drive, but how to avoid distractions and stay safe behind the wheel. Motorists older than 18 years of age are not required to take an education course, but still may enroll if they so choose.

Types of Drivers Ed Classes in New Mexico

Drivers education classes in NM are offered at both public and private schools throughout the state. This option does not typically include the behind-the-wheel experience a driver may need, but he or she will satisfy the classroom component of the requirement. High school students can add the education course into their schedule.

A traditional driver education course takes place in the classroom, but those who do not or cannot participate in school can enroll at a state-approved driving school. The school must be verified and licensed by the state in order for it to satisfy the GDL requirements.

Some driving schools may offer a combined program that includes classroom and behind-the-wheel training. However, others may only offer classroom learning. In cases such as this, student drivers must complete additional hours of classroom learning in place of behind-the-wheel training.

Drivers ed online does not satisfy the GDL requirement in New Mexico. Only state-approved public, private and driving schools count toward the licensing process. However, some student drivers may find it helpful to enroll in a course as a supplement to their studies.

What will you learn in a New Mexico drivers ed school?

New Mexico drivers ed classes review all the essential topics necessary to pass the knowledge and road exams. Drivers learn about New Mexico traffic laws and rules, traffic safety, operational procedures and consequences of committing traffic violations. After finishing the program, drivers are ready to take and pass the written and hands-on driving examinations needed to receive a full driver’s license.

Note that the drivers ed test does include a road exam. As such, behind-the-wheel training is commonly offered in driving schools throughout the state. However, some schools may not include any hands-on instruction. Students must practice this component outside of the classroom if it is not included in the curriculum.

Teen drivers ed also includes information about how to say safe and responsible behind the wheel. The program includes at least three hours of instruction on the dangers of driving while intoxicated, including penalties and violations. Additionally, young drivers will learn about the dangerous consequences of distracted driving, which includes cell phones, loud music and driving with passengers.

New Mexico Drivers Education Requirements

The New Mexico drivers ed requirements are determined by the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division, or MVD. All new drivers younger than 18 years of age must complete the following requirements as part of the GDL system:

  • 30 hours of classroom instruction plus 7 hours of behind-the-wheel training
  • 56 hours of classroom instruction if behind-the-wheel training is not offered
  • At least 6 hours of education pertaining to driving while intoxicated (DWI), including penalties and violations

Additionally, parent taught drivers ed requires the parent or guardian supervise the teen driver behind the wheel. 50 hours of supervised driving (10 of which must occur at night) is required for all drivers before earning a provisional license.

Benefits of a New Mexico Driver Education Course

Drivers education in NM carries many benefits for all new motorists, but especially for young drivers. The program familiarizes teen drivers with essential laws and rules, which helps reduce their risk of crashes or violations. Parents can feel confident that the program has appropriately trained their teen driver to handle any situation that may occur safely and responsibly.

Participating in an education course allows young drivers the chance to earn a driver’s license more quickly. Teens as young as 15 years of age can begin the enrollment process.

How to Enroll in a New Mexico Driver Ed School

Enrolling in a drivers ed course in New Mexico is required for all new drivers younger than 18 years of age. Depending on the type of instruction a driver chooses, the registration process may differ. Drivers interested in participating in the education course offered at their school may enroll with the school district, school board or guidance office. Different school districts may have different policies on driver training enrollment, so it is important that all new drivers inquire with their school.

Those interested in drivers ed classes offered at approved driver training facilities must adhere to the company’s enrollment policies. Driving schools may have specific enrollment periods or deadlines, and it is up to the driver and his or her parents to adhere to these deadlines to ensure enrollment is open. Drivers may need to provide one or more forms of identification along with a form of payment for the course.

New Mexico DMV Drivers Ed Certificates

After motorists complete drivers education school, they will receive a certificate of completion acknowledging that they have met the education portion of the GDL requirements. Those who complete their training at a licensed driving school will likely receive a referral card indicating this completion. Drivers must bring the card to the MVD in order to receive their instructional permit.

Drivers Ed for Residents New to New Mexico

Drivers ed is mandatory in New Mexico for new drivers younger than 18 years of age. Drivers of the same age who have recently moved to New Mexico that currently hold an out-of-state learner’s permit must transfer their permit in the state.

Some drivers may be able to transfer their out-of-state driver training credentials to the state and count them toward the GDL requirements. New residents should contact the MVD to determine if their certificate is valid in New Mexico. If not, they must complete a state-approved education program.

New Mexico Drivers Ed vs. Traffic School

A driver education course is not the same as traffic school. New Mexico drivers who are younger than 18 years of age must complete a state-approved education course before they can receive a provisional driver’s license.

Drivers who commit traffic violations or receive citations may enroll in traffic school (either by choice or by requirement, depending on the infraction) to improve their driving skills, remove points from their records and avoid suspension.

New Mexico Driver Education Fees

Drivers ed prices at approved New Mexico driving schools vary depending on the type of instruction a motorist receives. The cost of an education course at a high school also varies from district to district. For exact costs, motorists should contact their school board or the driving school in which they are interested.

Last updated on Monday, March 2 2020.