Alafia Driving Academy has had countless successful graduates.

By Laura Tamayo

While schools are unable to offer the driver’s ed class online, a perfect alternative is the Alafia Driving Academy. Opened by Cole Dolmseth in October 2013, the driving school has served multitudes of teenagers who need extra help in their journey to getting their licenses.

“I started it when I realized that there weren’t any driving schools in the area, and my son needed to learn how to drive,” explained Dolmseth.

While limited to serving Eastern Hillsborough County, the school has had students from Iraq, England, Jamaica, France, Cameroon, Vietnam, Uganda and several other countries learn from them over the past seven years.

“We are based out of Bloomingdale and service from Wimauma and Sun City Center all the way up to Thonotosassa,” said Dolmseth.

If you reside in nearby regions, an instructor will come to you and the lessons will be given in your residential area but go farther in distance as students advance in training.

Students are found to typically need around six to eight hours of lessons before they are fully prepared to take on driving alone; however, each person is different. The 10-hour and 20-hour package lessons begin with an easy ride along straight roads that typically lasts an hour, while the rest are 90 minutes and increase in difficulty as each one passes.

As of now, the academy has three instructors, including Dolmseth, and offers numerous options for classes to satisfy the needs of the student. This can range from a 10 or 20-hour package to just a single lesson before the DMV’s driving test.

The instructors bring their own car to use as the driving vehicle and even have video cameras set in place to document any hilarious mistakes. These moments can be found on their YouTube channel, ‘Alafia Driving Academy,’ where they have been posted with each student’s consent.

Declared an essential business, the school will continue to run throughout COVID-19, combatting the pandemic by thoroughly cleaning the vehicles after each lesson and having teachers wear two masks when with the students.

The hour-long lesson costs $80, the 90-minute costs $120 and the two-hour costs $160.

To book a lesson (or multiple) for your kid or for yourself, visit the academy’s booking page at

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