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Driver's Education

Driver's Education Program

On April 3, 1998 the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina passed a law which governs drivers licenses for students under the age of 18. It is, "An act to provide that certain students who drop out of school or do not make progress toward graduation shall not be eligible for drivers permits or licenses."

An important component of this law is the involvement of the school system. School systems do not issue or revoke drivers licenses. Schools issue Drivers Eligibility Certificates based upon a students performance and enrollment in a school. A Drivers Eligibility Certificate is a required component to receive and retain a drivers license for a person under age 18 if that person received his/her license or permit after December 1, 1997.


Procedures for Issuing a Drivers' Eligibility Certificate (DEC)

In order for a student under age 18 to get a permit to learn to drive or get a provisional drivers license, he/she must have a DEC signed by the principal or the principal's designee. The DEC must be stamped with the official seal of the school in which the student is enrolled.

  1. The principal or designee signing the DEC must show that he or she has determined that the person applying meets at least one of the following requirements:

    a. The person requesting the DEC is currently enrolled in a school and is making satisfactory progress toward obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent. Satisfactory progress is defined as passing 70% of the courses in which a student is enrolled (5 out 6 courses on a traditional schedule or 3 out of 4 classes on a 4x4 block schedule each semester). Satisfactory progress attempts to assure that the student will receive a high school diploma or its equivalent. The student must have been promoted to his/her present grade level. A student enrolled in a school but taking less than four (4) classes must pass each class he/she is taking.

    Students who have been administratively placed from the eighth grade to ninth grade are to be considered to be making satisfactory progress.

    Any incomplete grade must be reconciled before a DEC can be issued or revoked.

    A student who is under a long-term suspension or expulsion is not considered to be enrolled in school, therefore is not eligible to maintain or receive a DEC.

    b. A substantial financial hardship would be placed on the person or the person's family if the person does not receive a DEC.

    c. The person cannot make satisfactory progress toward obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, this should not be a factor for consideration. All students enrolled in a specific course of study should be capable of maintaining satisfactory progress towards completion of that course of study. If they are not making satisfactory progress, then the course of study needs to be reviewed for its appropriateness by the respective committee at the school.

  2. The DEC must be on a form approved by the Division of Motor Vehicles and dated within 30 days of the date the person applies for a permit or license issuable under this section.
  3. The DEC must be signed by the applicable person named below:

    a. The administrator, or the administrator's designee, of the nonpublic school in which the person is enrolled.
    b. The person who provides the academic instruction in the home school in which the person is enrolled.
    c. The designee of the board of directors of the charter school in which the person is enrolled.
    d. The president, or the president's designee, of the community college in which the person is enrolled.


The DEC contact person will:

  1. Verify initial eligibility, complete, and issue the DEC
  2. Authenticate each with the raised school stamp (DMV copy)
  3. File school copies of each DEC issueda. After August '98 this information will be added into SIMS/NCWise as wellb. NCWise will contain Drivers' License number, DEC number, and suspension datec. Stamp file copy with necessary information
  4. Verify eligibility of all students at mid year and the end of the year
  5. Contact DMV computer system to revoke the DEC of a student who is no longer eligible
    a. All high schools have a person who can access the system now. This must be done from the Direct Order entry station at the present time.b. Training will be given to contact persons during the coming school year per the use of the AS 400 system.c. Send out warning letters to students who have a failing grade(s) at the end of each nine weeks (this is not required but an option for the first year especially as a means of notification)
  6. Arrange the appeal for a student who may lose his/her DEC
  7. Process students who wish to drop out of school
  8. Update the school staff on any further changes to the law

Notification

Parents and students will be notified of the law in the following manner for the 1998-99 school year:

  1. 9th grade orientation
  2. Parent letter given along with initial schedule
  3. Short paragraph in first school newsletter
  4. Notice at the end of first nine weeks
  5. Letter at the end of mid-year term to notify of appeal processes
  6. Notice on all report cards

Reporting Students No Longer Meeting the Criteria for DEC

The DEC contact person is to report students who no longer satisfy the requirements for a DEC to the Department of Motor Vehicles only after the student has been notified by letter and there has been a final determination for any and all appeals. This is to be done at mid year, the end of the year, or when a student officially drops out of school. DPI has developed a process to submit these reports to the DMV electronically. DMV will be responsible to inform the person who is no longer meeting the criteria for eligibility that he/she must surrender his/her license to the local DMV office. The suspension date is the day the school contact person accesses DMV to notify them that the student no longer meets the requirements for a DEC.


Appeal Process for DEC

A student who is at least age 15 but less than age 18 must secure a DEC in order to obtain or maintain any driving permit or license. This is required by N.C.G.S. 115C-12 and N.C.G.S. 115C-566. The principal or the principal's designee will issue the student a DEC if one of the following conditions is met:1. The student is enrolled in school and is making satisfactory progress toward obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent2. A substantial hardship would be place on the student or the student's family if the student is unable to obtain/maintain a DEC3. The student can not make progress toward obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent

When a student's DEC is revoked due to poor academic performance or due to the student withdrawing from school, the student may appeal to a school committee. The Principal or the Principal's designee should serve as the facilitator for the appeal. The school committee should have a member of the student's race and sex. The committee should be comprised of a least three representatives from the following areas:1. Administration2. Faculty3. Student support staff (social worker, counselor, etc.)

The student will receive written notification of the findings of the school committee. If the student is not satisfied with the findings of the school committee, then the student may follow the appeal procedure granted by N.C.G.S. 115C-45 and the Public Schools of Robeson County Policy.


Sample Letters to Notify Parents of an Impending Loss of a DEC

The following are sample letters that should be used to notify parents of an impending loss of a DEC or as notification of process.


Letter 1

Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public125 Any StreetLumberton, NC 28358

Mr. and Mrs. Public:

According to our records, your child, Johnny, is no longer enrolled at (school name). State law requires that he be enrolled in school and making satisfactory progress towards a high school diploma in order to maintain his driver's license. We must notify the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles of this change in his enrollment status. He will be receiving a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles notifying him that his Driver=s License has been revoked if he received a license or permit after December 1, 1997.

A parent or guardian may request a Driver=s Eligibility Certificate based on a documented hardship. The parent or guardian must submit written documentation pertaining to the hardship to __________, Driver's Eligibility Coordinator for (school name) within 14 days of the date this letter was written. If your written documentation is not submitted to the school within 14 days, your request will not be reviewed. The hardship must be related to one of the following considerations:

1. Medical considerations2. Work related considerations3. Exceptional children consideration4. Other documented concerns

Please contact __________ at (phone number) if you have any questions or desire further clarification as to the information that should be submitted.


Letter 1a

Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public125 Any StreetLumberton, NC 28358

Mr. and Mrs. Public:

According to our records, your child, Johnny, is not making satisfactory progress towards graduation at (school name). State law requires that he be enrolled in school and making satisfactory progress towards a high school diploma in order to maintain his driver's license. We must notify the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles of this fact. He will be receiving a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles notifying him that his Driver's License has been revoked if he received a license or permit after December 1, 1997.

A parent or guardian may request a Driver's Eligibility Certificate based on a documented hardship. The parent or guardian must submit written documentation pertaining to the hardship to __________, Driver's Eligibility Coordinator for (school name) within 14 days of the date this letter was written. If your written documentation is not submitted to the school within 14 days, your request will not be received. The hardship must be related to one of the following considerations:

1. Medical considerations2. Work related considerations3. Exceptional children considerations4. Other documented concerns

Please contact __________ at (phone number) if you have any questions or desire further clarification as to the information that should be submitted.


Letter 2

Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public125 Any StreetLumberton, NC 28358

Mr. and Mrs. Public:

The (school name) review committee has not granted your child, Johnny, his appeal to maintain his Driver's Eligibility Certificate.

It was denied due to the following reasons:

If you are not satisfied with the findings of the school committee, then you may follow the appeal procedure by N.C.G.S. 115C-45 and the Public Schools of Robeson County Policy #__________. Please contact __________ within14 days of the date of this letter at (phone number) to arrange a time and date for your appeal to the Board of Education.


Letter 2a

Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public125 Any StreetWilmington, NC 28401

Mr. and Mrs. Public:

The Public Schools of Robeson County review committee has granted your child, Johnny, his appeal to retain his Driver's Eligibility Certificate at this time.


Students Eligible for Driver's Licenses and Permits

Parents and students of the Public Schools of Robeson County eligible for driver's licenses and permits.

As of August 1, 1998, North Carolina has implemented legislation that reflects a coordinated statewide effort to motivate all students to complete high school. This legislation is a coordinated effort between the Department of Motor Vehicles, The Department of Public Instruction, the Division of Non-Public Schools, and Community College System to encourage students not to drop out of school and to maintain adequate progress towards a high school diploma or its equivalent.

The law states if a student fails to maintain adequate academic progress or drops out of school, his/her drivers license or permit will be revoked until they exhibit satisfactory academic progress, return to school, or turn 18 years of age.

In addition, the law requires a student to get a Driver's Eligibility Certificate from her/his principal (or designee) before he/she can receive any permit or license. The Driver's Eligibility Certificate can only be issued to students who are enrolled in school and making adequate progress towards a diploma or its equivalent. The certificate will be revoked when and if the student fails to maintain adequate progress and/or fails to be enrolled in school. Adequate progress is defined as passing three out of four classes on a four by four block schedule.

Students eighteen or older; students who have attained a high school diploma, a GED, or an adult high school diploma issued by a community college; and students who received his or her driver's license before December 1, 1997 are not affected by this law.

Please contact the Principal of your assigned school if you have any questions or desire further information.


Obtaining a Level I Limited Learner's Permit Letter

Public Schools of Robeson CountyP.O. Box 2909, 4320 Kahn DriveLumberton, NC 28359910-671-6000


TO: Students Completing Driver Education

FROM: Driver Education Supervisor

SUBJECT: Obtaining a Level I Limited Learner's Permit

The following items will be needed to obtain a Level I Limited Learner's Permit:

  1. Certified copy of birth certificate.
  2. Social Security Card of printout from the Social Security Administration
  3. Driver Education Certificate. (Your Driver Education Certificate is not a permit to drive!)
  4. A Driving Eligibility Certificate (effective 8/1/98). This certificate must be obtained from your school principal or his/her designee. This certificate is valid for 30 days only.
  5. An application for a permit must be signed by both the applicant and another person. That person must be the applicant's parent or guardian if the parent or guardian resides in this state and is qualified to be a supervising driver. In all other circumstances, that person must be an adult approved by D.V.
  6. Fee of $10.00 to cover cost of Level I Limited Learner's Permit.
  7. Supervising Driver: A supervising driver must be a parent of guardian of the permit holder or license holder if a parent or guardian signed the application for the permit or license. If a parent or guardian did not sign the application, the supervising driver must be the adult who signed the application. A supervising driver must be a licensed driver who can prove he/she has been licensed to drive for at least five years.

The following tests are required for a Level I Limited Learner's Permit:

  1. Written Test
  2. Sign Test
  3. Eye Test

The NC Driver License Office is located at:

301 Bypass4650 Kahn DriveLumberton, NC 28358910-618-5551

Normal hours are 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.


New Child Passenger Restraint Law

NC Child Passenger Safety Law - G.S. 20-137.1Summary of law

Ages/Positions Covered:
» Children less than age 16 in front or back seats are covered under the NC Child Passenger Safety law.

» Drivers and passengers 16 years old and older are covered by the NC Seat Belt Law.

Vehicles Covered:
»All vehicles required by federal standards to have seat belts are covered. All passenger cars manufactured after 1967 are required by federal regulations to have seat belts and are covered by the NC Child Passenger Safety Law. Vans, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles manufactured after 1971 are required to be equipped with belts and are also covered by the NC Child Passenger Safety Law. There are no exemptions for vehicles registered in other states or vehicles driven by out-of-state drivers.

Restraint Required:
» A properly used child restraint device (CRD) is required if the child is less than 8 years old AND weighs less than 80 pounds. Most parents and other care givers will be able to comply by using belt-positioning booster seats for children between 40 and 80 pounds. The child must be within the weight range for the child restraint/booster seat and it must meet Federal standards in effect at time of manufacture.

» Children may be secured in a properly fitted seat belt at age 8 (regardless of weight) OR at 80 pounds (regardless of age) - whichever comes first. Placing the shoulder belt under a child’s (or adult’s) arm or behind the back is both dangerous and illegal.

» If no seating position equipped with a lap and shoulder belt to properly secure a belt positioning booster seat is available, a child who weighs at least 40 pounds may be restrained by a properly fitted lap belt only. WARNING: Belt-positioning booster seats can only be used with lap and shoulder combination safety belts. Belt-positioning booster seats must NEVER be used with just a lap belt.

Refer to "What are Options for Children over 40 pounds? in the "Choosing and Using" section for additional information on booster seats and safer alternatives for lap-belt-only seating positions.

Position in Vehicle:
» The CRD must be installed in the rear seat if the child is less than age 5 and 40 lbs.and if the vehicle has a passenger side air bag and a rear seat.
» Front seat installation is allowed if the CRD is designed for use with air bags.

Exemptions*:
» Vehicles not required to have belts (such as cars made before 1968 and pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans made before 1972, and large buses)
» Ambulances and other emergency vehicles
» If all seating positions with belts are occupied

Responsibility/Penalties:
» Driver responsible for all children less than sixteen
» Penalty not to exceed $25
» Full court costs apply ($188 as of October 1, 2010)
» Two (2) driver license points
» No insurance points

» No conviction if the child is less than 8 years old and proof is presented at trial that an appropriate CRD/Booster seat has been acquired for a vehicle in which the child is normally transported since the violation.