Drivers Ed in the USA – A History

How it All Started: The Advent of Driver's Education

You may wonder how you have come to be here: taking a class to get your drivers license.  The history of Drivers Education is really interesting.  In the early days of automobiles, the only prerequisite to drive was a car was to own or have access to one. Driving lessons were handled informally by friends, family members, or even the car salesman. As you might expect, the absence of regulatory measures such as speed limits, driver's licenses, and traffic lights led to numerous accidents.

During the early 1930s, Dr. Claire Straith, a cosmetic surgeon dealing with facial reconstruction due to car accidents, began advocating for improved car safety. His efforts, although partially adopted by the Chrysler Corporation, paved the way for the first recorded driver's education class in 1933 at State College High School in Pennsylvania.

A 1930 Chryler Series 70 Coupe - Drivers Ed in the USA

Chrysler adopted the teachings of Dr. Claire Straith.  They also made the 1930 Chryler Series 70 Coupe

The Rise of Driver's Education

By the 1930s, the growing concern for automotive safety led to voluntary classes at universities and increasing adoption of driver's safety training. Efforts by pioneers like C. E. Minnick in Maryland substantially boosted the presence of drivers education in schools. By the late 1940s, drivers ed was available in 3,000 schools nationwide.

However, it wasn't until 1966, with President Johnson’s Highway Bill, that states were mandated to standardize and require driver’s education or risk losing funding. This ushered in the era of modern driver's education.

The Shift from Schools to Private Driving Schools

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, budget cuts led many high schools to drop their driver's ed programs, resulting in the rise of private driving schools. This became problematic for states like California, Florida, and Texas that required new drivers to take drivers education courses but had many small towns that couldn't support a full-time driving school.

The Dawn of Remote Learning and Online Driver's Education

In response to these challenges, the first correspondence drivers education course was made available in California in 1978. The advent of technology saw these remote classes evolve from mail correspondence to using VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs, and eventually the internet. The first online driver’s ed course was offered by in 1998.

By 2018, 20 years after the first online driver’s ed course launched, the standard had evolved to include full audio, video, and interactive content. Some providers, like, were even incorporating augmented reality to enhance the learning experience.

Drivers Ed History - Discount Banner

The Future of Driver's Education

As technology continues to evolve, it is anticipated that offline classroom instruction for driver's ed may cease in states that allow online drivers ed within the next decade. Furthermore, with the advent of self-driving cars, the necessity of driver's education itself may become obsolete.

Encounters with Law Enforcement as a Learner Driver

The experience of being pulled over by law enforcement as a learner driver can be daunting. The subsequent actions often depend on the state and the nature of the infraction. Typically, adherence to basic protocols like having a responsible adult in the car, cooperating with the officer, and maintaining a calm demeanor can lead to a more favorable outcome.

The legitimacy of Online Driver's Education

Online drivers education is legal and fully certified by state agencies. These courses, regulated by various state agencies like Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) and California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), undergo stringent checks to ensure compliance with state rules. Online driver’s ed providers like Aceable,, and IDriveSafely not only offer convenient and interactive content but also adhere to the rigorous state-controlled process to deliver top-quality education.

As of now, over 20 million students in the U.S. have completed their driver's education online. Online drivers ed has indeed proven to be a legitimate option for learners of all kinds due to its convenience and ease of use.

Advancements in Online Drivers Education: Case Studies of Aceable,, and IDriveSafely

Online drivers education has witnessed significant improvements and innovations in recent years. Let's look at three popular providers who have made notable strides in this domain: Aceable,, and IDriveSafely.

Aceable: An online platform that offers mobile-friendly drivers education courses. Founded in 2012, Aceable has leveraged technological advancements to deliver comprehensive and engaging content. They're known for their user-friendly interface, engaging content, and innovative use of augmented reality for realistic driving simulations. Aceable has been recognized for its commitment to making drivers education more accessible and effective for students nationwide. Founded in 1997, was a pioneer in online drivers education. It launched the first-ever online driver’s ed course in 1998. Although the initial program was predominantly text-based, the platform has evolved significantly over the years. Now, they offer interactive modules, videos, and practice tests that make learning to drive more engaging and effective. They've been successful in transforming traditional classroom-based instruction into an accessible online format.

IDriveSafely: Launched in 1998, IDriveSafely is a trusted provider of online drivers education courses. It offers a variety of traffic-related courses, from defensive driving to drivers ed. They use videos, interactive drills, and easy-to-read texts to provide comprehensive, state-approved drivers education courses. They're recognized for their strong commitment to making roads safer by teaching good driving habits.

All three providers have played crucial roles in evolving and shaping the landscape of online drivers education. They're continuously innovating to make learning to drive safer, more accessible, and more effective.

History of Drivers Ed in the USA - Aceable Banner

The Future of Drivers Education

As technology continues to evolve, so will drivers education. The shift from classroom to online education is likely to continue, especially in states that recognize and allow online drivers ed. The quality, accessibility, and convenience of online programs are making them an increasingly popular choice.

The advent of self-driving cars might pose new challenges and potentially change the landscape of drivers education. However, as of now, learning to drive remains an essential skill and rite of passage for many. Online providers like Aceable,, and IDriveSafely are leading the way in making this process safer and more efficient.

In conclusion, drivers education has come a long way from the early days of informal lessons from family and friends. With innovations in technology and online learning platforms, learning to drive is now more accessible and effective than ever. The future will likely see further advancements in this domain, ensuring safer roads and more confident drivers.

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Brandon Myers is an entrepreneur, online course enthusiast, and driving education innovator. Diagnosed with ADHD, Myers has always struggled with conventional classroom learning methods. With a career spanning over 15 years in eLearning, Brandon has made significant contributions to the field of online drivers education, playing instrumental roles in renowned platforms like Aceable, I Drive Safely, and As the owner of, Brandon's passion project, he aims to connect students with the education they need online. Additionally, Brandon has ventured into the field of dentistry with initiatives such as OpinionTwo, an app offering seamless second opinions, and SEO Dentist, a company dedicated to assisting dentists with their website optimization.