Phil’s Driving School is a place that gives teens and adults the opportunity to learn the rules of the road and obtain their driver’s license. Classes are instructed at 212 Main St in East Haven, and at North 1719 Route 80 in North Branford. They operate Monday through Thursday from 6-8p.m.
Mr. Philip DePalma started the school in 1948. However, in 2013, the original owners retired. Casey Hubelbank then took over the school, and he runs it currently.
The school offers two classes the thirty-hour program and the eight-hour program. The courses vary in their respective tuitions, curriculums, and extra opportunities. The thirty-hour program is geared towards teens and consists of thirty hours of classes and eight hours of driving. If you enroll in this program, you become eligible to take your driver’s license test with the school. The tuition for this program is $525, but will increase to $600 if you take the test through Phil’s. Student at Phil’s Driving School Brian Kenyon explains that during class you are expected to take notes, fill out the packet given to you, and watch presentations. The eight-hour program, on the other hand, is for both teens and adults. It includes a safe driving/drug and alcohol class, behind the wheel instructions, and training for the adult permit exam. “For work, I had a test that had five chapters on it, and every day, along with the instructor doing different lessons, I had to complete each chapter test, which went along with a booklet passed out on the first day,” said student at Phil’s Driving School Annette Franco. If you are enrolled in this program, then you are additionally eligible to rent a car from the school for your driving test at the DMV. People who enroll in the eight-hour program are not eligible for the driver education discount and must wait 180 days before taking their license test, while the students from the thirty-hour program only wait 120 days after they have their permit.
Only students between the ages of 16 and 21 are permitted to take their license test at a driving school in Connecticut, leaving everyone else to go to the DMV. However, students over 21 may use the Driving School car for the test. Tuition for this program is originally $125, but if you enroll prior to your class, online or over the phone, this amount drops to $99. As for payment plans, $150 is the initial cost for the 30-hour program. However, students may not conduct an on-road until the balance is paid off.
After speaking to various students throughout EHHS, it has come to my realization that although some students know about Phil’s Driving School, they don’t know all of the opportunities that are at their fingertips. “I only know about driving lessons and the eight-hour course,” said Annette. Perhaps if she had known about the thirty-hour program and what she could have been eligible for, her decision to do the eight-hour program would have been different. Many people know about the driving school because of family and friends. “I heard about it through my brother who did his hours there,” said student at Phil’s Driving School Michael Streeto. Ian Loehmann also explains that he knows about the school from friends who have gone. All of these students exemplify how the knowledge about the school typically comes from a basis of knowing someone who has or is going and not on what the opportunities for people are.
Now that you know your options and the locations available to you, be sure to head to Phil’s Driving School or the website below to enroll in your lessons today!