In Hawaii, drivers’ education programs follow what is known as a graduated approach, helping drivers between 15 years and 6 months of age and 17 achieve sufficient experience in driving to be able to obtain a full license. A heavy emphasis is placed on developing a sound basic understanding of traffic laws within the state and the various penalties for violating these laws. You are also required to complete a certain number of hours behind the wheel under close supervision before you can be granted the right to drive independently.
Unlike other states, Hawaii drivers’ education programs only offer classroom teaching for new drivers who are at least 15 years and 6 months old. You will be taught how to drive defensively, avoid collisions, and troubleshoot basic mechanical problems affecting your car’s performance. You will also be taught how to understand different traffic signs. Because the syllabus is derived from the driver’s manual, you can use the learning to prepare for the written component of the driving test as well. This classroom learning has to be upwards of 30 hours.
Once your classroom training is complete, the next step in your Hawaii drivers’ education is practical driving experience. You will have to obtain an instruction permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to drive your car. Remember this is not your license which means that you will have to abide by several restrictions. For example you cannot drive between the hours of 11pm and 5am, and you must complete a minimum of 50 hours of driving under different conditions in the supervision of a parent or legal guardian. At least 10 of these hours should be spent on night-time driving. Your instruction permit is going to be valid for a year, so you have plenty of time to rake up the hours in your favor. Spending extensive time driving will help you gain a better road sense and drive confidently.
You will have to show proof of behind-the-wheel training and your classroom instruction in order to apply for the next step, the provisional license. This allows you further independence to drive but is not yet a full license. You can only apply for those when you are 17 years or older.