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Frequently Asked Questions

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Is there a charge for driver education through the public schools?

No.  Each eligible student under North Carolina General Statue 20-88.1 is afforded a one-time opportunity through the school system to receive a driver education course free of charge.  After that, a student would need to obtain instruction privately through a commercial provider.

Who needs driver education?

Anyone under the age of 18 and desiring to receive a NC driver permit/license.

Where are the classes held?

Classes are held on Swansboro High School Campus, generally in the cafeteria.  Swansboro High School's  Driver Education is currently contracted to a North Carolina commercial driving school, North Carolina Driving School.

We live in Onslow County, but attend a private school in a neighboring county.  Where do we take driver education?

State funding requires that you take the course in the county where you are enrolled in school.  In other words, the public school in the county where your private school is located is responsible for providing you with the program.

What is the Graduated License Program?

This program took effect on December 1, 1997.  It requires that a licensee hold a valid learners permit violation free for at least 12 months before being eligible for an unrestricted license or be 18 years old.

What is the Drop Out Prevention Driver License Program?

This program took effect on August 1, 1998.  It requires that the licensee pass at least 70% of their courses and not have dropped out of school.  Progress is reevaluated every six months.  This requirement will terminate with a high school diploma or on the 18th birthday.

I just finished Driver Education and I want to get my license.

Young drivers, who receive their license after December 1, 1997, must go through the Graduated License Program.  Basically, you must have a learner's permit for one year, violation free, or until you turn 18 years old.

I have finished Driver Education and I want to get my license.  What do I need to take with me to the DMV license office?

  • You need the proper identification documents as listed on the NC Driver License Link
  • The DL-123 (insurance verification form) is necessary for the license but not required for the learner's permit
  • A Driver Education Course Completion Certificate from NC or another state that requires at least thirty (30) hours of class-work and six (6) hours of Behind-The-Wheel (BTW) training as in North Carolina
  • A Driving Eligibility Certificate (DEC).  This is obtained from your high school's main office.  NOTE: Allow 5 to 10 days for processing to receive this certificate after your request is submitted to the high school's main office.  

Where should I go to apply for my driver's license?

You may apply for a driver's license at any Department of Motor Vehicle Driver's License Office within the state of North Carolina.

Where can I get a Driver Education Course Completion Certificate?

Your BTW instructor will issue this certificate upon successful completion of your BTW training.

How long is my Driver Education Course Completion Certificate valid?

This certificate does not expire and is valid indefinitely.

How does my son/daugther receive the Driving Eligibility Certificate (DEC)?

You must contact the driver training specialist and fill out the necessary documents. 

How long is my Driving Eligibility Certificate valid?

This certificate is valid for only 30 days.  An updated certificate is necessary after 30 days of receiving the first one.  You must follow the same procedure when requesting the udpate as you did when you requested the first one.  NOTE: Allow 5 to 10 days for processing to receive this certificate after your request is submitted to the driver training specialist.

My son/daughter does not attend public school.  May we participate in the driver edcation program at no charge?

Yes, according to North Carolina General Statute 115C-551 - Voluntary participation in the State programs.  This statue states: "Any such student may, on a voluntary basis, participate in any State operated or sponsored program."  Additional information is available through the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education.

My son/daughter attends a public middle school in Onslow County and has completed Driver Education.  How do we receive a Driving Eligibility Certificate?

You must contact the main office of the middle school that your son/daughter attends. 

My son/daughter attends a private school, or licensed home school in Onslow County.  How do we receive a Driving Eligibility Certificate?

You must contact your private school's main office or for home schooled students, the NC Division of Non-Public Education for this certificate.

Are there any new NC laws that will affect me or my son/daughter?

Seat Belt Legislation:

Yes.  Effective December 1, 2006, (SL 2006-140) all persons in your vehicle must be properly restrained by either a seat belt or child safety restraint.  This new law applies to all drivers.  Any driver or front seat passenger who fails to wear a seat belt as required by this law shall have committed an infraction and shall pay a penalty of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) plus court costs in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00).  Any rear seat occupant of a vehicle who fails to wear a seat belt as required by this law shall have committed an infraction and shall pay a penalty of ten dollars ($10.00) and no court costs.  No driver's license points or insurance surcharge shall be assessed because of a violation of this law.

Cell Phone Legislation:

Effective December 1, 2006, (SL 2006-177) it is illegal for a driver under the age of 18 to talk on a hand-held or hands-free cell phone while operating a motor vehicle and that vehicle is in motion.  Exceptions are made for 911 emergency calls or calls to the police or calls to doctors and/or hospitals.  Exceptions are also made for calls to the driver's parents and/or guardian or spouse.  Any person violating this law shall have committed an infraction and shall pay a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) and remain at the driver's current level of restricted license for an additional six months.  This is an offense for which a defendant may waive the right to a hearing or trial and admit responsibility for the infraction pursuant to G.S. 7A-148.  No driver's license points, insurance surcharge, or court costs shall be assessed as a result of a violation of this law.

Organ Donor Legislation:

Effective October 1, 2007, (NC House Bill 1372) the heart on the driver's license will have a new meaning. New legislation will go into effect making the heart symbol legally binding. Examiners from the NC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are still expected to ask citizens applying for a learner's permit, driver's license or those applying for state-issued identification cards if they want to be an organ donor.

Key Facts You Should Know About Organ Donation:

  • NC House Bill 1372 converts the heart on the license to legal first person consent, meaning that the donor's family members can not overturn the donor's decision. 
  • Consent for donation must still be obtained for individuals under age 18 from parents or legal guardians.  Once the donor turns 18 however, the heart on the license will be upheld. 
  • Those who already have the heart on their license will be grandfathered in.
  • It is still important for donors to tell their next-of-kin their wishes on donation as they will be notified of the person's decision at the time of death and asked for a medical/social history of the donor.
  • The heart indicates organ and eye donation ONLY.  Family members will continue to be consulted before tissue donation (heart valves, skin, etc.) can take place.
  • Names in the DMV donor registry are kept confidential and can only be accessed at the time of the donor's death by one of the three authorized donor recovery agencies operating in North Carolina.
  • Names on the registry can be added or deleted by visiting a NC DMV office.
  • An online registry is available for those individuals who want to declare themselves as donors or remove themselves from the list without having to go to a DMV office. The web address is

Electronic Vehicle Inspection

Starting November 1, 2008, North Carolina vehicle safety and emissions inspections will go electronic. This means that windhshield inspection stickers will no longer be issued at your next insepction on or after November 1. The North Carolina General Assembly Passed legislation (N.C. General Statute Chapter 20, Article 3A, Part 1) requiring the move to electronic authorization to increase compliance statewide and to further benefit the state's air quality and highway safety. Failure to obtain the required emissions and/or safety inspection on your vehicle will block license plate renewal.

Real ID Act Legislation

Effective May 11, 2008, it will become necessary for every licensed driver seeking to renew his/her NC Driver License and for every new applicant for a NC driver license to provide certain documents as evidence and proof of name, birthdate, principle residence address and legal status/social security number.  Each renewal and/or new applicant must appear in person at the local DMV office before the new license can be processed.

Documentation required before issuing a Real ID Act Compliant License or ID card

Before a card can be issued, the applicant must provide the following documentation:

  • A photo ID, or a non-photo ID that includes full legal name and birthdate.
  • Documentation of birthdate.
  • Documentation of legal status and Social Security number
  • Documentation showing name and principle residence address.
  • Digital images of each identity document will be stored in each state's DMV database.

Click on this link to learn more about Real ID Act

In compliance with Federal Law, the Onslow County Schools Driver Education Department administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age or disability.