A Phoenix mom says her teenage son paid for driving school classes, but didn't get what he was promised. She says he was promised a license, without having to take the road test at the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).
Getting your driving license is a right of passage for most teenagers - it's a time of great anticipation and excitement. Commercial driving classes and schools are supposed to help young drivers gain the confidence they need to pass the MVD road test, but Melisa Taylor says her son's school told him he'd get his license without having to take the test at all.
"He saved up for over a year," said Taylor.
It was a total of $300 for a 3-day driver's ed program. Taylor says her son chose Jacob's Driving School in Phoenix because the school made a promise. If 15-year-old Tyne completed the program, the school would issue him a certificate that he could use when he turned 16.
"He could go down to the MVD, present his certificate, and receive his driver's license without having to take the exams," Taylor said.
Taylor says the school assured her that, with a permit and the certificate, the MVD would waive the written and road tests.
Her son got his certificate in July 2012, and Taylor walked him into the MVD office in January 2013.
"I found out when we went to the ticket counter that they stopped taking those certificates last year," Taylor said.
The MVD eliminated the waiver program in October 2012. Certificates from commercial driving schools like Jacob's can no longer be used to bypass the MVD written and road tests.
"It's kind of like going to college, and you think you're going to get your associates degree, and at the end of the two years they just say, 'No, we're not going to give you your degree,'" Taylor said.
Jacob's had no prior knowledge of the MVD's decision, but Taylor still felt the school should do something for her son.
"Can you offer him some more classes to be ready? Can he use your school's vehicle? Can you give a partial refund or a full refund? And they absolutely did not want to provide anything," Taylor said.
Taylor is also angry at Jacob's because she found out the MVD didn't automatically waive road tests anyway. It may have waived the requirement if Tyne had presented his certificate before October but there was never a guarantee.
"He's just completely frustrated because he saved up for so long for this course and it was never delivered to him."
Again, the old rule was the MVD might waive their testing with a certificate from a commercial driving school. Taylor says it was never presented to her son that way. CBS5 spoke to the owner of Jacob's and he said he did not guarantee the MVD would waive their testing. After speaking with us, he offered Taylor's son some additional training but her son declined.
The misunderstanding between Taylor and Jacob's Driving School is moot anyway, since the MVD eliminated the program before Tyne was able to try and use it. The MVD says it got rid of the program after it analyzed many schools statewide, and found a number of students were not properly prepared to have a driver's license.
Bottom line: This certificate-for-waiver type of commercial driving school program no longer exists. The training is still valuable but no matter what kind of instruction you receive, you will have to take the MVD tests.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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