Noncommercial Driver Education

Driver education programs are designed to teach teen drivers the rules of the road and to help them become safe drivers so they can acquire the necessary driving skills to prepare for and pass the road driving test and to ultimately obtain a driver’s license. Formal driver education programs exist in almost every jurisdiction in the U.S. These programs generally mirror state specific driving requirements, which assure novice drivers are being taught information relevant to their state.

The graduated driver licensing (GDL) system, which identifies driver education as an important component, gives novice drivers experience under adult supervision and protection by gradually introducing the novice driver to more complex driving situations. Multiple studies report that GDL systems reduce the number of teen crashes. It is essential that parents take a proactive role in keeping their teens safe and injury-free throughout the early years of their driving education.

For additional information on GDL visit the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.

AAMVA developed and maintains a Noncommercial Model Driver Testing System (NMDTS) for use by motor vehicle agencies for testing new drivers. The NMDTS establishes uniformity between jurisdictions for the testing of noncommercial operators and provides a base of core information for driver manuals and graduated driver license (GDL) parent instruction guides.

The development and maintenance of the NMDTS ensures that new drivers receive proper information on safe operating practices and are tested to determine whether they possess the minimum knowledge and skills for entering the driver’s license system.

Components of NMDTS Include:

  • What to Do and Expect When Pulled Over by Law Enforcement video and information (2022)
  • AAMVA Model Driver’s License Manual (August 2022): Template to assist jurisdictions prepare and publish their own manuals. The information is updated to reflect current laws and necessary information drivers need to understand driving rules and pass their licensing test. 
  • AAMVA Model Mentor Guide (December 2016): Offers tips and support to parents and other individuals assisting new drivers in learning and practicing their skills. Offers general guidelines on planning and conducting behind-the-wheel driving experiences with new drivers as well as the basics of using and driving a vehicle.
  • NMDTS Examiner Manual: The NMDTS Examiner Manual is a resource/training document for examiners who will be administering noncommercial drivers tests. The manual provides an overview of driver licensing and testing, instructions for using the score form, detailed information and scoring criteria for each segment of the test, as well as using the scripted testing instructions and determining the final score. 
  • Knowledge Test Item Pool: The Knowledge Test Item Pool is a bank of over 200 test questions based on content found in the NMDTS driver manual which reflects important information that all drivers must know to safely operate a vehicle. The Item Pool is designed for use by state driver license agencies to incorporate into their driver license knowledge testing system. 
  • Driver License Test, which includes:
    • Vehicle Safety Inspection: The examiner and driver will perform certain parts of a complete safety check to determine if the vehicle is safe to drive before moving to the Basic Skills and Road Test segments of the test. The state may choose to score the safety check as part of the test or may conduct the safety check to determine vehicle safety only and not score the safety check as part of the test. 
    • Basic Control Skills Test: Evaluates the driver’s basic skills in controlling the vehicle and judging its position in relation to other objects.
    • Road Test: Determines if the driver has a minimum level of skills to safely operate a vehicle in most traffic situations. The driver will drive over a predetermined route that must contain all of the required maneuvers and at least two random maneuvers. Once a route has been established, it can be used as long as conditions allow.  

To receive a copy of the customizable Model Driver’s License Manual, the customizable Model Mentor Guide, and the Knowledge Test Item Pool, please send a request to Driver Testing.

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