TEACHING TRAFFIC EDUCATION DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC - Updated 12/17/2020
State-approved Traffic Education Programs and Online Instruction
State-approved traffic education programs can continue to deliver classroom coursework via online platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers can use Teams, Google Classroom, or other web-based applications to connect remotely in real time with their students. They should also use assessment tools to track their students’ progress. There are at least two times that in-person meetings should be held: the Parent Meeting and Knowledge Exam testing. Contact the OPI Traffic Education Office for more information.
Behind-the-Wheel Instruction during the Pandemic
To keep students and teachers safe during this time, the six hours of required in-vehicle instruction must follow safety protocols that minimize contact. All occupants in the vehicle should wear face masks at all times, use hand sanitizer, take frequent breaks to bring fresh air into the vehicle, and use sanitizer to disinfect surfaces. Consult with county health officials and/or your school nurse for local guidance on best practices.
Avoid Third-Party Driver Education Websites
Third-party websites that claim to offer driver education for Montana teens should be avoided. They do not satisfy the requirements and students taking these course will be disappointed when they attempt to apply for a driver license. Please advise the families in your community that only state-approved, school-based traffic education programs will provide this instruction for teens under the age of 16. Once a teen is 16, they can obtain a learner license and be taught and supervised by an adult driver authorized by a parent/guardian.
State-Approved Driver Education for Montana Teens (14.5 to 19 years of age)
Montana's school districts offer quality state-approved driver education that includes traffic safety, parent/guardian involvement, and Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL). The Traffic Education Unit approves instructors and school-based programs to ensure Montana standards and requirements are met (10.13.3: Program Standards and Course Requirements for Traffic Education).
Teens who successfully complete a state-approved driver education course in Montana have at least:
- 60 hours of traffic education instruction including 6 hours of behind-the-wheel in-traffic instruction (see Curriculum Standards).
- A minimum of 25 days of instruction taught by a state-approved traffic educator.
- The opportunity to study for and take the Learner License knowledge exam and receive a Learner License during the traffic education course.
Download the Montana Traffic Education Standards & Requirements (updated 2017-2019) for detailed information on Montana's traffic education programs.
Privately-owned, web-based driver education courses do not satisfy State of Montana requirements for driver education.