Career & Technical Education

Driver and Traffic Safety Education Guidelines MS Word Document (241 KB)

                                                                                                  March 23, 2010

To:             District Superintendents of Schools

                  Superintendents of Public and Non public Schools

                  Directors of Driver Education Programs

                  Driver Education Teachers and Educators

From:      Howard J. Goldsmith

Subject:  Revised Driver and Traffic Safety Education Guidelines

              In December 2008, the New York State Education Department and the Department of Motor Vehicles released a report from the Temporary Special Advisory Panel on Driver Education. http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/press/DriverEd12-31-08.pdf  The report is one result of Chapter 246 of the Laws of 2008 that created this panel of statewide experts, co-chaired by the Commissioners of Education and Motor Vehicles,  to examine the quality and availability of driver education to our students throughout New York State.

              As part of this ongoing initiative to enhance driver education and the safety of our young student drivers, we have continued to work with staff and experts from the DMV, the New York State Driver & Traffic Safety Education Association (NYSDTSEA), and stakeholders from across the state to revise and update the Driver and Traffic Safety Education Guidelines. 

              The purpose of this memorandum is to announce the release of these revised program guidelines, and to provide you with some highlights of the revisions and improvements that have been developed and incorporated into this new document to enhance Driver and Traffic Safety Education throughout the state.  Some of the major changes that you will notice in the revised guidelines include:

1) Course approval for any NYS-DTSE program may be obtained for a period up to three years provided all critical components are up-to-date.

The previous process required summer programs to reapply for approval every year. Also, note that fall and spring programs had to completely reapply for course approval if any components of the course had changed such as hiring a new teacher, issuing a new commercial driving school contract, etc.  An amendment process allows for an easier transfer of information in order to update and maintain your program’s DTSE approval.

2) Laboratory and classroom instruction must be conducted between 6:00 am – 8:00 pm.

The previous guidelines listed classroom instruction hours of 7:00 am – 7:00 pm. The new 6:00 am starting time will allow early starting school districts the flexibility to conduct morning session NYS-DTSE classes. The 8:00 pm end time should allow those students attending NYS-DTSE classes who hold a junior license to drive home prior to their 9:00 pm driving curfew.

3) Schools must develop and publish written guidance regarding make-up sessions.

Although NYS-DTSE providers are not required to offer make-up sessions, they must publish a written policy regarding this issue.

4) The course must provide students with a minimum of twenty-four (24) clock hours of classroom instruction and a minimum of twenty-four (24) clock hours of laboratory instruction.

The required clock hours for NYS-DTSE courses have not changed; however, greater flexibility in offering the laboratory instruction portion of the course are illustrated via the table below.



Additional LI


In-Car Observation


and/or Range


Total Hours

Laboratory Instruction (LI)


In-Car Observation

Classroom hrs





Laboratory hrs




12 in any combination


5) The student driver vehicle must be equipped to provide all occupants with maximum protection. Equipment shall include: dual control brakes, an additional rear view mirror, an eye check mirror for teacher use, flares, triangles, or other reflective devices, fire extinguisher, and first aid kit.

The eye check mirror is a new vehicle requirement.

6) Individuals seeking certification to become a NYS-DTSE teacher no longer have to secure employment prior to being issued their MV-283 card.

7) Covered schools who hire commercial driving school instructors for an approved NYS-DTSE course must comply with the fingerprinting requirement for prospective school employees set forth in 8 NYCRR Part 87.  An employee of a NYSDMV driving school is considered to be placed within the covered school if the arrangements for the course are made through the covered school.

Within covered schools all teachers and instructors must be finger printed and cleared for employment pursuant to regulations of the Commissioner of Education.

8) Commercial driving school instructors providing behind-the-wheel or in-car observation instruction in an approved NYS-DTSE course must have completed at least one year of in-car instruction and have completed the basic 30 hour instructor’s course, as specified by the NYSDMV, prior to teaching an approved NYSED-DTSE course. This must be communicated with the school, college or BOCES being contracted with, and then affirmed on form DE-1 section VII labeled “30 hour instructor course verification”.

9) New forms for course approval DE-1 and teacher approval DE-2 are available.

All needed program application forms are now available online and are linked directly from the relevant parts of the revised Driver and Traffic Safety Education Guidelines.  You will also find links to additional information such as DMV forms, defined terms, and support tools.

10) Public schools colleges and BOCES are now required to enroll in the NYSDMV LENS program as a condition of their course being approved. There is no cost for public schools to enroll.  http://nysdmv.com/lens.htm

              The purpose of these guidelines is to assure statewide consistency and high quality in the provision of programs leading to a student Certificate of Completion (MV-285). This certificate allows students to schedule road test appointments with the Department of Motor Vehicles without first having to take a pre-licensing course, and to apply to change their junior license to a senior license (class D) at the age of 17.

              Please review these revised guidelines carefully, as failure to comply may result in the cancellation of a driver education course or revocation of a DTSE teacher approval.  The guidelines are now in effect and available at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/cte/docs/NYS-DTSEGuidelines1.1.doc.  If you have any further questions or concerns, please review the department's Driver Education web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/cte/de/.  The site includes various program resources, useful links, and an updated list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).  You can also contact Phil Dettelis or Kathy Erickson at emscdrved@mail.nysed.gov or at (518) 486-1547.

              Thank you for your time and commitment to Driver and Traffic Safety Education.  Our joint efforts will promote the quality and opportunity of these programs to enhance the safety of student drivers throughout New York State.


Last Updated: March 9, 2011