Joshua's Law Course Access - How it Works, People at DDS to Call

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If your library is participating in the GOHS grant program to offer online driver education courses to help 16-year-old students qualify for a Class D driver's license, here is some information that, to the best of my knowledge, is true and correct. If anyone finds otherwise, I would appreciate your letting me know.

Getting a driver's license is now a three-step process if you want the license at 16. You have a learner's permit, which you must have for a year before getting a license, then at 16 you can get a Class D license ONLY IF you have completed a set of requirements that includes some classes (actual or online) and some experience (either with a licensed instructor or in a prescribed parent-teen arrangement). At 17 you can get a driver's license without going through the Class D phase, but who wants to wait...

Those of us who are doing the GOHS grant are actually providing a fairly certain guarantee that a computer screen will be available outside of school hours with its first priority going to driver education. The Department of Driver Services has on their web site (under a section called Teen Drivers / Joshua's Law) a little button on the right side of the screen called Approved Courses.

That's where people will go to look at the videos, but there are a few steps to getting the programs. The next screen that comes up gives radio-button choices saying Private Company, High School, or Virtual Courses. You choose Virtual Courses, and what you get is a long page of different driving schools and their web sites.

These driving schools will be using one of three different sets of online courses, and any of them are approved by the DDS. The fee varies from $45 to over $100, and I've been told that Costco Technologies in Conyers is the $45 bargain price. DDS says that students should look at different web sites to choose the one they feel they can work with most easily.

Costco takes checks, money orders, and credit cards. I'm sure these policies vary from one driving school to another. If the student pays by check or money order, they have to mail it in and wait for the driving school to receive it before taking the courses. I imagine the driving school would send the student a confirmation in some manner, and that might have a registration number they could use to access the course. Whether this could be emailed back or would be sent by snailmail, I don't know. Credit card is immediate, and the parent with the card needs to be involved there.

In any case, we're just providing the screen. We're not taking up money or sending in money, nor are the DDS or GOHS. That's what this whole thing is all about--screen access in more places at more times of day.

Finally, I have discovered the VERY BEST person (so far) to answer your questions at DDS about the actual programming and the methods of access. She is Janice Raiford of the DDS Driver Education Program, (678) 413-8746. She will be on vacation next week, so she also recommends Brett Young in the office next door to her, (770) 918-5839.

For anything about the grant activities, we should still contact Gary Butler at GOHS. DDS is not the place to call about the grant itself, because they are pretty fuzzy on how that has developed in recent months.