Law Will Help Students with Disabilities Obtain Driver’s License

 

WILMINGTON – Students with disabilities receiving special education services will be able to obtain a driver’s license in the same manner as any other teenage student under legislation Governor Jack Markell signed into law on Tuesday.

Sponsored by Rep. Debra Heffernan, House Bill 184 allows older students in special education programs to get their driver’s licenses in the same manner as other high school students between 16-18 years old. Under the new law, a student ages 18-21 with an active IEP (individualized education program) who receives special education services can take drivers’ education, and after completing the course, take their “blue slip” to the Division of Motor Vehicles to receive their license.

“We know one of the biggest barriers for those with special needs from gaining employment is transportation.” Gov. Markell said. “This legislation not only gives students the opportunity to get their license, but it opens the door for them in the future.”

Previously, students with disabilities receiving special education services who were over 18 were allowed to take drivers’ education in school but then were required to take and pass the driving test and written test at the DMV to obtain their driver’s licenses. The testing at DMV was in an unfamiliar setting and was without any accommodations for their disabilities that helped them achieve success in school.

“This law will help students with disabilities to earn their driver’s licenses on a timetable that works for them,” said Rep. Heffernan, D-Brandywine Hundred South. “Students with disabilities will be able to earn their drivers licenses, which will foster independence and help them with employment by removing the barrier of transportation to their job.”

HB 184 passed the General Assembly unanimously in June.