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Kokua Line: Driving instruction may resume Saturday for teenagers in Hawaii’s Graduated Licensing Program

Question: What is the rule for teenagers who had their permits but weren’t able to get all their driving lessons before the pandemic?

Answer: “Instructional permits that expired between March 16, 2020, and June 30, 2020, are considered valid until September 30, 2020,” according to the state Department of Transportation’s website.

Honolulu County has resumed written or road tests, by appointment only, as well as appointments for teenagers and others who need to renew their permits because they are not ready to take the road test. Some of those permit holders may be eligible to renew their permits by mail. You can find out more at

Meanwhile, the state DOT announced earlier this month that driver’s education instructors who meet new pandemic-era safety requirements could resume in-person classes and behind-the-wheel training starting Saturday as part of the state’s Graduated Licensing Program. The classroom instruction may be taught in person, online or in a combination of those methods, according to the news release, at

The state DOT maintains a list of certified driving schools at, which specifically notes those approved for virtual classroom training.

The Graduated Licensing Program requires participants to have class- room instruction and behind-the-wheel training before obtaining a full license. The state DOT gave driver’s education instructors the following guidelines for in-person classroom instruction, according to the news release:

>> Instructors must follow CDC guidelines for small, in-person classes, including hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, use of cloth face coverings and posting of signs to promote protective measures.

>> Class size is limited to 10 people.

>> Waivers or liability forms must be signed by the student or guardian prior to participating.

>> Students and guardians must be educated not to attend classes if they are sick. Instructors should also ask students and guardians screening questions prior to participation in class.

>> All class participants (instructor and students) must wear nonmedical-grade face masks or face shields if a medical condition prevents the use of a face covering.

>> Pre-class, noncontact temperature checks are recommended.

>> High-touch points within the classroom should be sanitized per CDC guidance.

>> Instructors are to provide hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes or have students bring their own sanitizers.

>> All class participants are encouraged to frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds.

>> Instructors should space classroom seating at least 6 feet apart.

>> Each class cannot exceed five hours in duration.

>> The total 30 hours of classroom instruction required must be spaced out over a six-week period.

>> The six hours of behind-the-wheel training can be taught concurrently or after classroom instruction.

The department will maintain copies of instructors’ records, including waivers, student logs and schedules.

The DOT said driver’s ed instructors with approved COVID-19 safety plans also may resume behind-the-wheel training Saturday. It said instructors “are encouraged to follow CDC guidance for drivers-for-hire to the extent practicable.” Read that guidance at


On Tuesday my mother and I were enjoying breakfast at Ruby Tuesday in Windward Mall. Toward the end of our meal, our server Danielle informed us that a woman who had been sitting two tables away (and had already left the restaurant) had paid for our meal. Later, we tried looking for our anonymous benefactor in the mall but didn’t see her. Hopefully, she’ll read our “mahalo” in Kokua Line and will know that we were very touched by her act of kindness and generosity, and will pay it forward. — Two Appreciative Seniors

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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