Michelle R. | Recent Graduate

"We are very happy...and have already referred it to several friends.

Steve and I are glad we made the decision to invest (the extra time and money) in this program.  Especially living in a place like Los Angeles, where teens are often thrust onto city and freeway driving early on.  

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About The Driving Academy

Driver's Education Environment

Although navigating our roads has become more challenging than ever, Driver Education & Training in the state of California has remained largely unchanged since the 1960s. The state mandates only 6 hours of professional driver training for a new driver to get behind the wheel, however, a manicurist is required to take 500 hours of training to become certified. The Driving Academy goes beyond industry standards to help your teen obtain their license and also build life skills along the way.

The Driving Academy is a DMV certified teen driving school specializing in driver education and training in Los Angeles & Ventura County. By utilizing a coaching methodology and internationally recognized techniques your teen will develop confidence, critical decision making skills, and accept personal responsibility. The learner driver will become a better decision maker long after graduation.

We have the most expert and experienced driving coaches in the industry.

Our Academy offers a unique combination of services, including:

  • Targeted behind-the-wheel lessons focusing on freeway, canyon, nighttime and distracted driving

  • Unique Integrated Driver Education and behind-the-wheel training

  • Free home or school pickup or drop off from home or school for all lessons within our service area

Our Driving Coaches

Russ Shuster

Owner and Senior Driving Coach

Russ SchusterI have had a successful 25-year career in both the driving school and Defensive Driving Industry. I have been responsible for helping to develop driving programs and curricula for a few major driving schools here in the Los Angeles area - including the Mercedes Benz Driving Academy. In addition, I have personally coached several thousand beginner and more experienced drivers over my career making them safer and better decision makers behind the wheel.

During my latest stint as a Senior Driving Coach and Operator, for the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy, I worked with Product Innovation to help further develop and integrate international coaching techniques here in the United States. I cannot believe how much coaching enhances the learner drivers' self-confidence and develops key decision- making skills. The learner driver progresses so much more effectively when utilizing coaching versus instruction.

At The Driving Academy, I maintain that high standard of unique driver training to help my students develop decision making skills behind the wheel. In addition, I have almost 15 years experience as a Defensive Driving Coach for the California Department of Risk and Insurance Management (ORIM). I have developed fleet driver safety curricula for ORIM responsible for making state employees safer drivers.

I  also coach Defensive Driving and perform driver safety evaluations at several state agencies such as CHP, The Department of Justice and various California State Universities. Finally, I regularly hold Fleet Safety Training workshops for the training staff at the California Department of Transportation's headquarters in Sacramento.  

Read testimonials from my former students to see what they have to say.


Richard Durham

Program Director/Senior Driving Coach

Richard DurhamI have been working with teenagers for over twenty five years as a teacher, coach, driving instructor and tutor.  I have coached baseball for ten years, basketball for seven years and golf for the past fifteen years. I am currently the varsity golf coach for Viewpoint High School in Calabasas and prior to joining the Mercedes Benz Driving Academy as their classroom instructor and driving coach, I was a high school teacher in northern California for twenty years teaching History, Government, Economics and World History at private High Schools

I have four years of experience as a Driving Coach having over two hundred hours of training in the coaching method used by Mercedes and now being used at the Driving Academy.

I look forward to helping your student become the best driver they can be and having a great time doing so.

Kim Nguyen

Driving Coach

Kim NguyenWith over 7 years of drivers’ education and training, I have delivered hundreds of safer students (teen and adult) into the driving world of Southern California.  Along with my fellow co-workers, I also came from the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy, taking with me only the highest standards and the safest approach to drivers’ training.

I am all about safety and rules but with a sense of humor and personalized service. I believe every student is different in learning and personality, so each student is coached with their needs in mind.

Not only have I helped students become safer drivers, I have helped hundreds of parents become more confident and patient with their at-home drivers’ training.  It takes a village to make a safer driver!

Adrian Tate

Driving Coach

Adrian TateI have a true passion for helping others. As a previous gym manager, coaching others became a part of my life. Since graduating college, I have had over 8 years of experience as a personal trainer and wellness coach.  I also voluteer for several charities which include the Special Olympics, breast cancer, The Children's Institute and St. Jude.

Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of high school students and college athletes; getting them to perform at their potential. 

Given my background in coaching and giving to others, I saw becoming a driving coach as a natural fit. The driving academy's apprenticeship was really rigorous, detailed and thorough. It prepared me to not only teach but to get beginner drivers to hone their decision-making skills and understand the responsibility that comes along with driving a vehicle. I look forward to building life skills and making young adults safer drivers for life.


John Mueller

Driving Coach

I have over 18 years of experience teaching/coaching thousands of teenagers, safe driving skills that will last a lifetime.

I grew up with motorcycles. A few years later I started teaching motorcycle safety. I started my teaching career as a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Certified Instructor.  I also taught Motor officers.

I then became a Certified Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy Driving Coach. This methodology helps the student driver enhance their decision-making abilities in critical situations. This is because the student self-evaluates situations and determines the safest options themselves. This technique gives the student a sense of responsibility that comes with driving.