Driver’s Education: Steers Students in the Right Direction

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Driver’s education has been a mandatory course at Greater Latrobe Senior High for decades. Prior to the 2011-2012 school year, an average of 300 students took driver’s education every year. This year,2012, is in fact the very first year in which driver’s education is not a mandatory class, but instead, an afterschool course.

”Now that driver’s education is not a graduation requirement, many students are dropping the course,” said Mr. Cook, who aids in the on road student driving. In the beginning of this school year, forty students signed up to take this course. Now that the course has begun, only fifteen students are attending, including five seniors who are required to take this class in order to receive their diplomas. Since high school students have schoolwork, jobs, and extracurricular activities, it may be hard for some to make extra time in their swamped schedules for a driving course. To accommodate more so the students’ lifestyle, online courses might become available in the near future.

The driver’s education theory course takes a total of four weeks to complete. The class runs Mondays through Thursdays, from 2:45PM until 4:45PM. The course offers students over 30 hours of knowledge that is crucial to being aware behind the wheel.

The course is a flat fee of $55, and an additional $300 if you choose to take the on-road course.   Competitors in the area, such as Jones Driving Course in Pittsburgh, are charging $335 just for driver’s theory.

Insurance companies offer a discount if minors who are about to get their license attend a driving course. State Farm offers up to a 25% insurance discount; the majority of insurance companies offer an average of a 10% discount, but in order to get the full percentage you must have two requirements: You need to  have a diploma from a driver’s theory course, and proof that you took an on-road course.

 Another way to get an additional discount off of your car insurance, is to be a good student. Companies such as Progressive, Erie, and State Farm Insurance offer a good student discount. To be considered a “good student,” your grade point average has to be 3.0 or higher. According to a poll taken by students taking this course, 40% of the students originally signed up because of the discount.

“You cannot put a price on a student’s safety,” says Mr. Byers, who is teaching the course.

Mr. Byers cares a lot about the safety of his students. He gives multiple examples of ways to be a safe driver, as well as show his students the consequences of not being a safe driver.

Driver’s education is informative. Students learn a variety of very important information. One important aspect of the class is that the students are shown videos, and read newspaper articles about car accidents that resulted from distracted driving. Students are shown the fatal effects of texting while driving as well as driving under the influence. Student also read, and answers questions from the driver’s education book. Car maintenance tips and safe driving skills are the main focus of this course. Students are taught how to handle potential dangerous situations, as well as how to avoid them. Students also learn how to change a flat tire, and change the oil in their car.

Students should take advantage of the driver’s education theory, as well as on-road course that Greater Latrobe is offering. According to Erie insurance, schools rarely offer any type of driving class. “Greater Latrobe’s driving course expands student’s knowledge, which enables good scores on their permit exam,” said Mr. Burkley, the school guidance counselor. When students take this course they will be knowledgeable of the content of the state permit exam.  They will also have better insight on how to conduct safe travel. In order for the student drivers of Latrobe to “steer” clear from car accidents, they need to take this course!