Road Worrier Blog

True or false: NC don’t need no driver’s education

Now that state funding has been shut off for driver’s education classes offered by North Carolina high schools, the Senate wants to stop requiring teens to take the classes.

Is this a good idea? Please let me hear your thoughts by email (bsiceloff@newsobserver.com) or phone (919-829-4527). Don’t forget to provide your phone number so I can call you back Monday, when I’ll be reporting on this.

Driver’s education now is required by law for a learner’s permit – the first step, in a graduated program, for drivers who get full licenses before age 18. That requirement would go away under provisions inserted in the proposed budget adopted Thursday by the state Senate. (It’s too early to know whether the House will agree.)

In place of classroom and behind-the-wheel training from a professional instructor, the Senate would require learner’s permit applicants to provide correct answers for at least 85 percent of the Division of Motor Vehicles written test (up from 80, the current passing score).

And those with learner’s permits would have to spend at least 85 hours driving with parents or other qualified adults riding in the front seat (up from the current 60 hours), before they could get their licenses.

Driving classes would still be available – but only from private training schools or state community colleges. Students could expect to pay an estimated $300 to $400 per class.

Young drivers, parents of teens, what do you think about this?

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