Why does drivers training cost $500 in one state and $0 in another?


Donna Minarik

Dani Minarik drives down a highway in order to get enough hours to take segment 2 of drivers training in Michigan.

Dani Minarik

$0. That’s how much it costs to become a driver in Florida. 

$500. That’s how much it costs to become a driver in Michigan. 

$900. That’s how much it costs to become a driver in California. 

Why does drivers training cost $500 in one state and $0 in another?

Michigan: Paying for what?

   No teens are fans of Michigan’s drivers training program. To start off, you have to take 24 hours of class time with an instructor and then six hours of driving on the road with an instructor. Then you have to pass an 80-question test. Then, you have to wait at least six months to take another six hours of classes, then a 20-question test. Finally, you have to take and pass your road test to get your license. All of this totals to over $500. Jr. Ellie Smith said, “I feel like $500 was such a waste. I only paid that much because there really is no other choice.” 

Georgia: Expensive and timely

   Jr. Anna McPeak lives in Georgia and also took drivers training. In Georgia, you can start drivers training as young as fifteen years old. You have to do six hours of in-person drivers training and then 30 online hours. You also have to pay $500. “I think $500 is way too much for a class to drive, especially when it didn’t help me at all.” McPeak also described how she got most of her experience in driving from just being on the road, not from her instructors. 

Florida: Two different paths

   Two girls from Florida, Soph. Nanda Marcal and Jr. Emma McKay, have both gone through different experiences in the Florida drivers training program. Marcal says, “I didn’t have to pay anything for my drivers training, it was through my school.” On the contrary, McKay says “Some schools offer drivers training but most make you pay. I had to pay $400 for my drivers training because my school doesn’t offer it.” 

New York: Expensive, as usual

   Jr. George Kaltenbach went through the drivers training program in New York. In New York, you can take drivers training, but you do not have to, it just lowers your insurance cost. In order to get your license without taking drivers training, you have to take your permit test and then you can drive six months after you pass your permit test and get some driving practice on the roads, with a parent in the car. “Most schools offer drivers training and at my school it is $500 per student.”

North Carolina: Expensive and extensive 

   Soph. Ava Arledge lives in North Carolina and is currently in the process of getting her license. She describes the drivers training program in North Carolina as “expensive and extensive.” Arledge said that she had to pay $300 to go through her drivers training program. Out of the seven states interviewed, North Carolina has the youngest age that you can get your learners permit but also the most extensive out of all the states interviewed. You have to take 30 hours of classes with an instructor, six hours on the road with an instructor and then a test to get your permit. After that you have to get 60 hours of driving time with a parent and then take another test to get your license. 

Ohio: Average

   Jr. Piper Altemose lives in Ohio and has her license. In Ohio you have to pay $50 for 24 hours of drivers training classes with a teacher and then $300 for eight hours of driving on the roads with an instructor. Altemose described the drivers training classes as “pointless and way too long.”

California: Ridiculously expensive

   Finally, Jr. Melanie Leon lives in California. “California is always way more expensive, but I feel like you pay way too much money for your classes.” In California you have to take an online drivers training course, a permit test and then three lessons with an instructor that cost $300 each. 

   If the drivers training costs in Michigan seem expensive, at least it’s not California.