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Maryland Driving School FAQs

Q: Do I need to have a Learner's Permit to take driver education?

A: No. There is no minimum requirement to begin the driver education classroom training. You do not need a learner's permit to take the class. In fact, many of our students complete the entire 30 hours of classroom instruction prior to sitting for the learner's permit test. We have no involvement in the learner's permit test as this is administered by the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).

Q: How old do I have to be to take driver education?

A: You can sign up and take the classroom portion of our driver-education program at any age. You do not need a learner's permit or license to take the classroom training. You are able to sit for the Learner's Permit test at age 15 years and 9 months. You do need a valid learner's permit or license in order to train with us (or anyone else) in a vehicle. For those who take the classroom training and in-car training with us, we recommend that you complete the classroom training first, if possible, since the knowledge-based training is an important foundation for behind-the-wheel training.

Q: How old should my student be to start the State Driver Education Program, and what is the best way to progress through the training?

A: There is no longer a minimum age requirement to begin the classroom training portion of our Driver Education Program. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and I Drive Smart, Inc. recommend that students begin with the classroom portion of the Driver Education program, consisting of 30 hours of in-class instruction, to help prepare for the MVA Learner's Permit Exam which a student can take at age 15 years and 9 months. The student can take the permit test without ever having taken the classroom training, which will include some helpful information for the permit test but which IS NOT designed for the permit test itself. The Maryland MVA recommends reviewing the Maryland Driver's Manual (http://www.mva.maryland.gov/drivers/maryland-drivers-manual.htm) and practicing the online tutorial (http://www.mva.maryland.gov/drivers/rookie-driver/tutorial/tutorial-intro.html) multiple times to prepare for the test. The student can then complete the behind-the-wheel portion of the training after the Learner's Permit is obtained. It is best to stretch the training (with us as well as with the adult logging the supervised training) over a period of time to give each student the opportunity to absorb both the in-class and behind-the-wheel material.

Q: What if I miss a class?

A: Students are permitted under MVA guidelines to make up a missed class within a reasonable amount of time. If you miss an in-class session, you can log into your account and schedule a makeup session (choosing a location, date, and time that works best for you). We appreciate if you try to schedule make-up sessions prior to the class starting so that the instructor has an accurate roster for the class being missed and to open the seat for another student.

You can reschedule into any class, as long as there is still seating capacity. Here are the steps to change or customize your class schedule: 
1.    Log into your account. 
2.    If you wish to change an entire schedule, you can do this prior to the first unit starting by clicking on the Change button that shows above the schedule grid and picking a new class schedule from the next screen. This button disappears once the session for which you are scheduled starts. 
3.    If you wish to change a single class, find the class unit you wish to reschedule and click on the Status/Reschedule icon in the column to the right labeled Status/Reschedule. 
a.    This takes you to a page showing all future class options. The system will block you from scheduling two units on the same date (in which case you will see the word “conflict”). 
4.    Pick the location, date, and time that work for you and choose “Select.” You are able to makeup at any open class. There is no charge for this change unless it is into a class that has a higher location fee than you originally paid, in which case there is a $5 fee. 
5.    Repeat, if necessary, to customize any class desired.

Q: How old do I have to be to get a Learner's Permit in Maryland?

A: You must be 15 years and 9 months old to sit for the Learner's Permit test. You do not have to have taken Driver Education to get a learner's permit. You must study the Maryland Driver Handbook (http://www.mva.maryland.gov/drivers/maryland-drivers-manual.htm) and take a test at a full service MVA location. The Maryland MVA recommends practicing the online tutorial (http://www.mva.maryland.gov/drivers/rookie-driver/tutorial/tutorial-intro.html) multiple times to prepare for the test. 

Q: How should I go about scheduling my in-car training? That is, what is the recommended approach?

A: We know that a student will get the most out of our program if he or she has time to practice between the sessions, implementing the suggestions provided by the instructor. While we do not have a minimum requirement prior to training with us, it is very beneficial for the student to have some prior experience behind-the-wheel. We strongly advise clients to conduct baseline training to provide the student driver with some level of comfort and skill in the basic operation of the vehicle (shifting, steering, accelerating, braking, and reversing). The best approach is often to start on an empty parking lot for an hour or two and then graduate to quiet side streets without traffic.

For an inexperienced driver, our training should be in collaboration with private practice and guidance by the supervising driver. Providing some spacing between sessions allows the student time to integrate the coaching that we have provided with the guided instruction from a supervising driver (whether or not more time is needed for "logging" of hours). If you are working with us toward obtaining a license, please do not consider our training as something to "get out of the way." Rather, we advise clients to think of us as a partner in mastering a very complex skill where mistakes can be very dangerous and costly. For these reasons, while each client is unique, we generally recommend that clients spread out their lessons with us, allowing critical time in between for the student to practice. One approach that works well for many clients is to train relatively early in the process (for a strong foundation), train some more mid-way through your logging of hours, and train again closer to the time that you wish to conduct the MVA driving test. Important: The MVA driving test should NOT be scheduled closer than three business days after completion of all training with us. We do not require any minimum training prior to the first in-car session, but we counsel clients to have at least some practice, ideally with some residential road experience, enabling the student to get more training in the first session than very basic training while on a parking lot. The Eligibility Date (nine months after issuance of the learner's permit) determines the earliest date that someone can become fully licensed, so there is no advantage to speeding up the process of completion with us.

When it comes to scheduling training, we have the following general recommendations:
  • If you see a session that works well for you in a desired time frame, jump on it since it may disappear if someone else schedules it before you do. Keep in mind that you can cancel any time prior to 72 hours prior to the session start, but sessions become commitments that cannot be canceled once you are 72 hours prior to the session start time.
  • The sessions that book most quickly and are most desired tend to be:
    • Summer sessions and sessions during school breaks since this is the highest-demand period for training
    • Weekends because these tend to be the most-available times for busy parents and students
    • Afternoons just after school completes as many students like to train directly from their schools after the school day
    • Evenings since these sessions sometimes fit best for working families and for students with after-school activities
  • Be very careful not to schedule too many sessions too close together for an inexperienced driver. Since our sessions lock in at 72-hours prior to the session start, you do not want to schedule multiple sessions in multiple sequential days since the feedback might include a need for heavier practice before coming back for another session. The back-to-back scheduling may create a situation in which you are within the 72-hour window for one or more sessions, meaning that they cannot be canceled. It is much better to have a buffer of time between sessions for some practice.
  • Be mindful of the heavy seasonality we see in scheduling in-car training, in which demand for this training spikes in the first few weeks after school releases (June through early July) and also from roughly mid-August through the end of September. We annually see the number of sessions scheduled per active student increase four- or five-fold above normal levels during these periods that surround the school year. While we go to extremes to add extra sessions from our base of instructors, we cannot possibly expand training available by 4-5X from our established instructor base. This produces a predictable scarcity of sessions during these time periods, meaning that most of these sessions go to clients who book them 4-6 weeks prior to the training date. Please factor this reduced session inventory into your planning by trying to complete some of your sessions outside of these peak periods. If you wish to schedule during these heavy-demand periods, you will need to book sessions further in advance, be willing to drive further, and/or actively monitor "last-minute openings" that become available 1-2 days prior to the session.
Q. How do I cancel a scheduled behind-the-wheel session?

A: Students can cancel an in-car session at any point up until it is 72 hours prior to the session start time. For example, if you are scheduled for an in-car session on a Tuesday at 3:30 pm, you can cancel this session through Saturday 3:29 pm. Once the clock hits this 72-hour mark prior to the session start, the session is committed and cannot be canceled. We have this strict policy because our instructors have committed their own schedules and are required to be on-site for the session start. Because we have a stringent cancellation policy, please be very careful when scheduling your drive time. It is best to schedule each training session one session at a time rather than all at once. This will help to avoid missed sessions. We also send a courtesy reminder email five-days prior and one-day prior to the session date, but the best way to know your schedule is to visit your account which will always display your live schedule. Sessions do not expire, except that all sessions must be scheduled within two years of the purchase date.
  • Please Note: A client is able to cancel a session directly through his or her account 24 hours per day by clicking the "Unreserve" link and confirming the cancellation. A successful cancellation will be reflected immediately in the user account on the My Account page. If you still see the session showing on the My Account page, this means that the session is still live (not canceled). Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm EST. If you call or email outside of these hours to cancel a session, no action will be taken by us until our office is next open. This means that any effort to cancel a session with support from our office must occur during business hours and outside of the 72-hour window. An email sent to cancel on Friday at 4:35 pm EST will not result in action until Monday at 9:00 am EST. If Monday at 9:00 am EST falls within the 72-hour window, the session cannot be canceled even if the email or call had occurred outside of the 72-hour window. Our policy requires instructors to remain on-site for 30 minutes for a student who may be lost or late. We cannot wait longer as this can affect another student who is scheduled later. A late arrival may mean that the session will not qualify toward licensing requirements due to minimum training time requirements

Q: How do I get my certification for the Driver's Skills Test?

A: The Maryland MVA no longer issues paper certificates to completed students to clear them to take the MVA Licensing Test.  Certified schools such as I Drive Smart now enter the completed student's information into the MVA On-line Certification Web Interface.  The MVA will have your student information in their system when you arrive on test day as long as you have completed all the required training, submitted your forms to I Drive Smart and have been cleared by I Drive Smart to schedule your test. 

Once you have completed all the required course work for both the in-class training and the behind-the-wheel training, you must submit the following forms to the I Drive Smart office via the outlined submission process below:

1. Student In-class Completion Form/Record
2. Student Behind-the-Wheel Completion Form/Record
3. Student Answer Sheet (found in your student handbook)
4. Student MVA Bill of Rights Form (signed by parent or guardian)
5. Student In-car Evaluation Form

How do I submit my required Student Forms:

A: As of September 1, 2010 I Drive Smart tracks all required student forms via our on-line Event Management System. As a student progresses through both in-class and behind-the-wheel training, all data are entered by individual instructors which will automatically populate onto the appropriate form. Students only have to manage their Maryland Classroom Student Answer Sheet contained in your issued Student Manual. This sheet along with your book should be brought to all in-class training sessions so all answers, scores and instructor signatures can be documented. The answer sheet also serves as the student's receipt of attendance. DO NOT MISPLACE THIS ANSWER SHEET. All other documents are handled by the I Drive Smart Event Management System. Students and Parents can view student scores and attendance by logging into the User Account after each session.

Once a student has completed all training, he or she will be able to view all completed forms with scores and signatures showing 24-hours after their last training session via the User Account. Additionally, a completed student will receive an email instructing the student to do the following:

Step One: Once notified via the student's User Account, the student should download, print and view all forms.

Step Two: After all documents are signed by the student/parent/guardian, the forms should be submitted in one of the following methods:

Submission Methods:

Electronic Upload: Print and sign your forms, scan and upload directly into your User Account
                           See directions on the Upload Forms Page in your User Account.
     
Email:                 Students can scan and email to studentforms@idrivesmart.com
     
Fax:                    Students can fax clean copies to (800) 783-1183 (include a transmittal)

Mail:                    Mail the MVA white copies to:
                           I Drive Smart, Inc.
                           30 Court House Square, G-2
                           Rockville, MD 20850
                           Attention: Student Document Review

Once the student's documents have been received and approved by the office, the student will receive an email and a notice in the User Account clearing the student to schedule the licensing test at the Motor Vehicle Administration.


Q: What is the Graduated Licensing Program?

A: The program requires novice drivers to gain more driving experience with a supervising driver and gradually move up through the licensing process until full license status is achieved. Under the graduated licensing system, non-commercial license applicants, who have never held a driver's license, must progress through three licensing levels:

Level 1 = Learner's permit (15 years and 9 months)
Level 2 = Provisional license (after completing Driver Education and
after passing the driving test)
Level 3 = Full license

Q: I have been trying to print the forms for four days from three different computers and if I am in Microsoft Explorer it kicks me out; if I use Firefox, it says to wait (forever) for the form to download. Please advise. 

A: We are sorry for your experience and share in your frustration. Occasionally, Adobe’s software has glitches in certain browsers, and this is especially a problem for people on the Apple/Macintosh platform. If you are having problems seeing the forms to print them out, there is a potential work-around solution to address your issue. Instead of trying to view the document through the browser, try to download the file to your computer. Make sure to remember where on your hard drive you choose to save the file so that you can find it later. Once downloaded, you should be able to open the PDF file with Adobe Reader software (no browser involved at this point), view the information, and print it. please follow the below steps:


       In Firefox, choose Tools > Options
  • In the Options dialog, click Applications.
  • In the Applications tab, type PDF in the search field. 
  • For Portable Document Format (PDF) content type in the search result, select Use Adobe Acrobat (in Firefox) from the Action drop-down list.
  • If you see a button in the upper-right corner called “Open with a Different Viewer,” click on this button.
  • Click OK.
  • Restart Firefox.
      Configure Chrome
  •   In Chrome, go to chrome://plugins/.
  •   Click Disable under Chrome PDF Viewer, and click Enable under Adobe PDF Plug-In.
  1. Clicking the button should launch the dialog box below, permitting you to Save File to your computer (please note the location for later retrieval):
  2. If you do not see the “Open with a Different Viewer” button, you may see an icon in the upper right section with an image of an icon with an error on it. It should look like this:  
  3. Clicking on this “Download” icon is another way to launch the dialog box allowing you to save the file.
  4. A third way to try to download and save the file is to use the right button on the mouse and click somewhere on the page that is not displaying, then choose “Save Page As…”. This should also launch the dialog box allowing you to save the file. A screen shot below shows the menu that should pop up when you right click on the screen area where the document should be displaying:
​

While Adobe promised that they will fix the “browser bug,” we can’t just wait for them to solve it, so we are hoping that these instructions will address the challenges that you have been experiencing. If you continue to have problems downloading your form, please let us know. Good luck, and thank you for choosing I Drive Smart!

Q: How does the Payment Plan work?

A: If you purchase with a Payment Plan (available for most of our "packages" of services), the services that you purchase will be released on a schedule related to your payments. The following examples illustrate most of the Payment Plan situations, but please call our office if you have any questions:

  • If you purchase a full licensing package that includes knowledge (online or classroom) plus in-car training (3 sessions in this example), the sessions release as follows:
    • First payment of four releases the knowledge-based training plus the first behind-the-wheel session.
    • Third payment of four releases the second behind-the-wheel session.
    • Fourth payment of four releases the third behind-the-wheel session.
  • If you purchase a package of three in-car training sessions, the sessions release as follows:
    • First payment of four releases the first behind-the-wheel session.
    • Third payment of four releases the second behind-the-wheel session.
    • Fourth payment of four releases the third behind-the-wheel session.
  • If you purchase a package of four in-car training sessions, the sessions release as follows:
    • First payment of four releases the first behind-the-wheel session.
    • Second payment of four releases the second behind-the-wheel session.
    • Third payment of four releases the third behind-the-wheel session.
    • Fourth payment of four releases the fourth behind-the-wheel session.
  • If you purchase a package of five in-car training sessions, the sessions release as follows:
    • First payment of four releases the first behind-the-wheel session.
    • Third payment of four releases the second and third behind-the-wheel sessions.
    • Fourth payment of four releases the fourth and fifth behind-the-wheel sessions.
  • If you purchase a package of seven in-car training sessions, the sessions release as follows:
    • First payment of four releases the first behind-the-wheel session.
    • Second payment of four releases the second and third behind-the-wheel sessions.
    • Third payment of four releases the fourth and fifth behind-the-wheel sessions.
    • Fourth payment of four releases the sixth and seventh behind-the-wheel sessions.
  • If you purchase a package of ten in-car training sessions, the sessions release as follows:
    • First payment of four releases the first and second behind-the-wheel session.
    • Second payment of four releases sessions three through five.
    • Third payment of four releases the sixth and seventh behind-the-wheel sessions.
    • Fourth payment of four releases sessions eight through ten.
To learn more about the requirements and recommendations for new or experienced drivers in Maryland, visit:
Maryland MVA >>


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I Drive Smart Corporate Office:
30 Courthouse Square, Suite G-2
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Phone: 301.605.7761
Fax: (800) 783-1183