About  Us

Company Name

Drive Carmel



DMV License

Drive Carmel is licensed by the California
Department of Motor Vehicles, License E2117.


CHP Capt. William Perlstein, Ret.
CHP Ofc. Richard Richards, Ret.


Bobby Richards
Chris Perlstein
Wim Sprenger
Dave Bagwell
Jake Gregory


It is the mission of Drive Carmel to deliver the highest level of instruction to our students.
Through this commitment, we endeavor to instill the knowledge, skills, and habits that will keep our students safe throughout their driving career.


Logo About Us

Our logo is a tire forming an abstract C, together representing our company name Drive Carmel. The three ocean waves are a nod to our founding location along the beautiful Monterey Bay. Each wave represents one of the safety triads that we endeavor to instill in our students: knowledge, skills, and habits.

Organizational Values

Safety First: We prioritize the safety of our students, instructors, and communities above all else.

Excellence in Education: We are committed to delivering high-quality drivers education and training that empowers students with the knowledge and skills needed for safe and responsible driving.

Respect: We treat everyone with dignity, courtesy, and fairness, fostering an environment of mutual respect and understanding.

Integrity: We operate with honesty, transparency, and ethical conduct in all aspects of our business.

Continuous Improvement: We embrace innovation and strive for continuous learning and improvement in our programs, services, and operations.


Driver Carmel was founded in 1999 by Mary Gifford, who wanted to bring quality drivers education to the Monterey Peninsula.

In 2005, retired CHP Officer Richard Richards began teaching for Drive Carmel. He developed and shaped a comprehensive behind-the-wheel drivers training program that is foundational to the success of Drive Carmel today. In 2015, CHP Captain William Perlstein started teaching, and revamped the school’s drivers education program.

Upon Mary’s retirement in 2018, the company changed hands with William and Richard pairing up as owner and operator. A new era of standardization in training, procedures, vehicles, and designs was forged. A team of instructors, equally passionate and dedicated to the highest quality training, was formed. Their combined efforts have resulted in Drive Carmel being recognized as Monterey County’s premier driving school.


We are proud to be part of our community. We do not advertise—our business is driven almost exclusively by word of mouth. We proudly sponsor school and student events, programs, sports, and organizations, especially those programs that keep our students safe, like Sober Grad Nights.

Training Vehicles

It’s not just our training program that sets us apart from every other driving school in California; it is our vehicles. We train in modern, safe, highly visible SUVs. We do not compromise when it comes to inspecting and maintaining our vehicles. They are fully insured and independently inspected annually by California BAR-licensed maintenance shops.


As former members of the California Highway Patrol, we know too well the potential tragic consequences of unsafe driving behavior. Safety is not just part of our Mission and our Organizational Values; it is our culture. We have taught more than 7,000 students—some who get in the car not knowing the difference between the gas and the brake—and we have a perfect safety record.