Driving School Scams – and How to Avoid Them

Posted on Posted in How-To

Teens Cost Lots of MoneyCan you imagine paying thousands of dollars on college tuition for your youth, and then finding out an administrator from the school approached them and said - "You're really smart and wasting your time here. We'll keep your money and just give you the degree."
What would you say? "Sure!" because having that degree in hand is most important and school is a waste of time; or "No way!" because while the degree is important, the knowledge is what it's really about?

Sadly, some driving schools do just that. They advertise driving lessons at a ridiculously low price- so low they couldn't possibly provide the service at that rate. Then they offer the student 'the deal.'
 
My nephew Robbie's friend was offered that deal and grabbed it. He figured he knew how to drive and didn't really need those other lessons. He signed on the dotted line and got his insurance certificate. He passed his road test too. Then he was involved in a collision and was faced with a huge repair bill. He tried to sue the driving school because they hadn't provided the lessons that could have helped him avoid the crash. Of course, he didn't have a leg to stand on because he'd signed a form saying he'd taken all the lessons.

Good driving schools are worth their weight in gold but there are a lot of scams out there too. I'm a certified driving instructor myself and went to school with people I wouldn't let my daughter get in a car with. So how do you find the right school and instructors?
Start by asking around. What schools did other families choose and why? Listen to their answers. A cheap price should not be the primary reason. Did the classroom instructors interact with students and encourage them to ask questions? Did they pose a lot of 'what if' scenarios and encourage students to think about why collisions happen and how to avoid them? In the car, did they focus on coaching the student or run errands and make phone calls? Was their attitude positive and encouraging or angry and punitive?
Google possible driving schools and find out what people are saying online about them. One or two bad reviews could be sour grapes but repeat comments by identifiable parties are bad news Stay away from them.
Is the school a member of the Driving School Association of America (DSAA) or a similar association? That's a good sign because members must abide by a code of ethics and are committed to staying up to date in the industry.
You owe it to your teen and yourself to find the best driving school you can and make sure you get good value for your hard-earned money. Remember - if the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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