Virginia In-Car Training Policies

The scheduling of behind-the-wheel training is a critical part of the Driver Education Program and is closely regulated by the State of Virginia. I Drive Smart, as a certified Driver Education Company is required to adhere to all regulations under the Code of Virginia.

The purchase of an I Drive Smart Driver Education Package includes Seven In-Car Training sessions that consist of fourteen (14) fifty-minute (50) training periods behind-the-wheel with a certified Instructor. A "Behind-the Wheel Session" is considered two consecutive fifty-minute periods. Sessions (2 fifty-minute periods) must be scheduled on separate days and a student may not train behind-the-wheel more than two periods in one day. This is regulated by the Code of Virginia under Virginia State Law. Please do not schedule two behind-the-wheel sessions in one day.

Who is eligible?

A student driver may start to schedule in-car training through the I Drive Smart on-line system after:
  1. The student has completed Units 1 and 2 of the in-class training with I Drive Smart or
  2. Has completed the entire in-class portion with a public or private high school or another driver training school and has submitted proof. See our SmartDocs Page on how to do this.
  3. The student is in possession of a valid Virginia State Learner's Permit before any in-car training can occur.
  4. Student has entered their learner's permit number into their User Account info section where required.
Where does the In-car training take place?

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles discourages home "pick-ups" and "drop offs." Therefore, I Drive Smart does not pick-up or drop off students at their homes. Instead, I Drive Smart positions their training vehicles in convenient public locations where the student along with their parent or guardian meets their Instructor at the vehicle, conducts the training and returns the student back to that same location.

How does a student schedule their training?

When a student has met the above requirements, the student should log into their User Account and:
  1. Review all of the information about the I Drive Smart Buddy System. This page will cover important steps to partner with another student.
  2. The student will see a series of links that say "select" which will direct the student to the Behind-the-Wheel Schedules Page.
  3. Once on the Behind-the-Wheel Schedules Page, a student will be able to search and select an in-car session for training.
  4. During in-car sessions, students will drive for 50-minutes and observe for 50-minutes according to the State Mandated Regulations. Therefore, students are required by law to "buddy-up" with another student to facilitate the scheduling process. Under the Code of Virginia, a minimum of two students must be in the car at all times when training. Waivers are permitted under Virginia Law only for the driving portion of the training for emergencies when a partner student fails to show for a scheduled drive time leaving their "buddy" by him/herself. What to do when your "Buddy" fails to appear are below.
What is the Three-Day Window?

Once a session is scheduled, students may change or cancel up to three (3) calendar days before the scheduled session. The three (3) days are worked out to the minute the session starts (that is, 72-hours prior to the session start). Once the student is inside the three (3) calendar day window (up to the minute) prior to a scheduled drive time, the session cannot be rescheduled or canceled. Please be sure that the selected sessions are sessions that will be attended by the student driver. Please understand that I Drive Smart has no control over whether a partnering or buddy student shows for a training session. This arrangement is required under Virginia State Law. Please be mindful of changes or cancelations when working with a Buddy. Communication is possible through the I Drive Smart Buddy System so students should be sure to select carefully when scheduling.

What happens when my "Buddy" fails to show for a scheduled session and I arrive as scheduled?

In the event that one of the scheduled students does not show:
  1. The student who does arrive will drive for the first 50-minutes as scheduled but will not observe. Virginia Law requires that an observing student observe only another student. Under Virginia Law Instructors cannot perform as the "driving student" for the observation portion of the training.
  2. The student who misses an assigned in-car training will be marked as "not attended" by the Instructor and will be required to purchase a full replacement behind-the-wheel session to make up for the one missed.
  3. For the student that did attend the training, she/he will be credited for the driving portion of the session only and an "Observer Only" session will automatically appear in that student's User Account, at no additional cost obviously, where they will schedule in the same manner as a full session. The only difference is that when appearing at a training location for an "Observer Only" session, the student only has to remain for the first 50-minutes of the session to get the necessary observation credit.
Important Information

The Three-Day Cancelation Window: Unfortunately sessions that are inside the three-day window cannot be re-scheduled or canceled; therefore 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 three at once. This will help to avoid missed sessions.

Know Where Your Training Session is to Take Place: Please meet your I Drive Smart Instructor at the yellow I Drive Smart car at the location(s) you have selected. The Department of Motor Vehicles, as advised previous, discourages home pick-ups. It is important that the student is familiar with the location of the training and where the I Drive Smart training vehicle is parked. See the directions link next to your selected behind the wheel location. It is the student's responsibility to know where the training will take place. Please be sure to print off your account page each time you train and bring it with you to present to the Instructor. This will avoid confusion and will help to confirm your training time and location.

Parent/Guardian Meeting with the Instructor: The Instructor is available to meet with a parent or guardian before and after each training session to discuss the performance of the student and to make recommendations. Feel free to discuss with the Instructor the type of training that will take place, any concerns about your new driver, or specific training you would like your new driver to focus on. Be sure to bring all required materials to each session for Instructor signature.

Learner's Permit: Make sure you have your Virginia State Valid Learner's Permit with you when training. Students will not be allowed to drive without their learner's permit. Students will be marked as missed for these session and will have to purchase another session according to the aforementioned policy on missed sessions.

Please understand that exceptions cannot be made as behind-the-wheel training involves very careful pre-planning.


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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