School Climate & Safety

Driver’s Education Hits Speed Bump

By Linda Jacobson — February 20, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A new Georgia law designed to improve safety among teenage drivers is proving difficult to implement, especially in rural areas.

Passed during the 2005 legislative session, the measure requires 16-year-olds to take 30 hours of classroom instruction in driver’s education and 40 hours of supervised driving experience with a parent or certified instructor in the car in order to get their licenses. The law took effect Jan. 1, and rural counties—which are less likely than those in urban areas to have driver’s education programs of any kind—are now scrambling to meet the demand.

As recently as two decades ago, driver’s education was part of the curriculum at most Georgia high schools, but funding for the program ran out. Now even if schools have the courses, they are often after-school or summer programs, and parents also are sometimes charged a fee.

According to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, only about half the state’s 159 counties have an approved driver’s education program. Some are offered by school districts, but programs also are provided by private companies. The state even has approved three “virtual” training courses.

Some financial help for districts has been available because of a 5 percent surcharge on all traffic fines that the state began collecting when the law passed. But in 2006, only $2.7 million was collected, and the fee will sunset in 2008.

“That’s not enough to actually put driver’s education back in the schools,” said Maria Dorough, the department’s division director for regulatory compliance, and the department has no such goal.

Unlike many Georgia school systems, the 21,000-student Coweta County district, south of Atlanta, provides funding to offer a full driver’s education course at each of its three high schools, as well as an evening course at a charter school.

“We have enough demand that we are looking at some other possibilities, including adding a Saturday course,” said spokesman Dean Jackson.

Of course, students can opt to skip the classroom training altogether if they would rather wait until they turn 17 to get behind the wheel. But even then, the 40 hours of supervised driving, including six hours at night, is still required for a driver’s license.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the February 21, 2007 edition of Education Week


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety What the Research Says A Hallmark of School Shooters: Long History of Social Rejection
New research finds that shooters in K-12 schools are more often "failed joiners" than loners.
5 min read
Butler County Sheriff Deputies stand on the scene at Madison Local Schools, in Madison Township in Butler County, Ohio, after a school shooting on Feb. 29, 2016.
Sheriff deputies were on the scene of a shooting at Madison Local Schools, in Butler County, Ohio, in 2016.
Cara Owsley/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP
School Climate & Safety 4 Myths About Suspensions That Could Hurt Students Long Term
New longitudinal research shows that longer in- and out-of-school suspensions have severe consequences for students.
5 min read
Image of a student sitting at a desk in a school hallway.
Jupiterimages/Getty
School Climate & Safety Photos The Tense and Joyous Start to the 2021 School Year, in Photos
Students are headed back to school with the threat of the Delta variant looming. How is this playing out across the country? Take a look.
School Climate & Safety Former NRA President Promotes Gun Rights at Fake Graduation Set Up by Parkland Parents
A former NRA president invited to give a commencement address to a school that doesn’t exist was set up to make a point about gun violence.
Lisa J. Huriash, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
2 min read
David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, speaks during the CPAC meeting in Washington on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2010.
David Keene, the former president of the NRA, promoted gun rights in a speech he thought was a rehearsal for a commencement address to graduating students in Las Vegas. The invitation to give the speech was a set up by Parkland parents whose son was killed in the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP