Sunday, February 4, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, February 4, 2001

Classes can be costly, time-consuming

By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer

It may be expensive and time-consuming, but most parents are finding the mandatory driver’s education classes for teens under 18 well worth the money. And it gives them peace of mind.

"I was appalled (at the price) at first," said Jill Loui, a free-lance graphic designer from Aina Haina and mother of three. She is sending her 16-year-old son to the Y Primedriver class, offered by YMCA. "It’s quite expensive. But I really am glad. I’m really happy he’s doing it. It’s $600 well spent."

The state now requires drivers under 18 to complete 30 hours of classroom instruction, six hours of on-the-road instruction (or five hours on a simulator) and 50 hours of driving practice (40 during the day, 10 at night).

The Y Primedriver is the only program in Hawaii that uses a video driving simulator as part of the on-the-road training. It costs $600 for six weeks of classes that include the classroom instruction, five hours on the simulator and two hours of on-the-road instruction.

Programs offered by the state Department of Education, found in most public high schools, are cheaper - $10 for the six-week program that includes only classroom and on-the-road instruction - but space remains tight.

Other private driver’s education programs typically cost $400 to $500 for training that meets all the state’s requirements.

"I’m guessing no program is going to be the most fun on Earth, but I’m learning at least," said Jessica Rilveria, a senior at Mid-Pacific Institute, who is enrolled in the Y Primedriver program at Nuuanu YMCA.

"Certain road rules you don’t really know about or aren’t really enforced, especially if you learn from your parents who make up their own rules. So you learn the real ones."

For more information:

Y Primedriver: Next session begins March 4 at the Nuuanu YMCA. Able to accommodate 5,000 teens this year. Call 541-5250.

Certified instructors: A list of certified instructors is posted on the state Department of Transportation Web site at

Driver’s skills log: A log for recording practice hours can be purchased from the state DOT office at 869 Punchbowl St., Honolulu, for $1.

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