D. O. "Spike" Helmick is the retired Commisioner of the California Highway Patrol

Spike Helmick, Retired CHP Commissioner

Hot Topic:

Driver education has changed since we were children. Many public schools no longer offer driver education or driver training.

Driver Education and Training

I'm especially concerned with the skills of teen drivers in California.

We have enacted a graduated licensing program to educate and train our new drivers:

• Driver education courses at 15 years old.
• DMV written license examinations for their learner's permit beginning at 15 1/2 years old.
• "Behind the wheel" driver training lessons by DMV licensed instructors.
• At least 50 hours of practice driving with a parent or other adult.
• DMV driving exam on the public street with a DMV examiner beginning at 16 years old.
• Provisional drivers license for teens with key restrictions until 18 years old:
     • No teen passengers for the first six months of driving.
     • Restricted driving hours.
     • Zero tolerance for alcohol or drugs while driving.

Where to Start:

Parents should take an active interest in their child's driving education. Drivers education may very well be the most important class your child will ever take. There are many more options available now than when I was a child. In those days the public schools offered driver education and driver training to all students. Today, most California high school students take driving classes from private schools.

The Internet has created new ways to study drivers education - the "rules of the road". Your child can study online or with a home study workbook course. It gives parents a chance to be more involved in the learning process. Cal-Driver-Ed is one of the pioneers in home study driver education.

Regardless of where your child takes driver education, they will need to enroll in a local driving school to take the "behind the wheel" drivers education classes. California requires a minimum of six hours of lesson spread over at least three days. California Driver Training has a list of local driving schools in your area.

I encourage the parents of any teenager to become fully involved in your child's driving education. It may save their life.

Law Enforcement Sites

The Official CHP WebSite

The CHP 11-99 Foundation was created to provide benefits to California Highway Patrol employees and their families

The California Association of Highway Patrolmen (CAHP) is a labor association whose primary purpose is to work for the benefit of all California Highway Patrol officers.

Other Sites

Mothers Against Drunk Driving