Should Drivers Ed be mandatory in schools? - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

Should Drivers Ed be mandatory in schools?

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The death of five Adams County teenagers in one car accident and three young people in Lancaster County in another crash has caught the attention of the Midstate. One Drivers Ed teacher hopes lawmakers have their eyes open.

"Our legislators need to see that we need more education in our schools -- a bigger emphasis of driver education in our schools" Charles Bowen said.

Bowen, who taught for nearly 30 years in the Middletown School District, now provides driver training through the Capital Area Intermediate Unit. He says vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15 to 20 year olds and he believes legislators should find the funding to get Drivers Ed back into all schools.

Sixteen year olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any age. Bowen says the Lacey Bill, which requires 65 hours of training time and parents to sign an affidavit, is a step in the right direction. That bill goes into effect on Christmas Day.

Some school districts have cut drivers ed because of finances. Cumberland Valley still has its program and Heather Sholly says she would rather learn to drive from a teacher than her parents. "It's good to have a teacher. Not that they are not protective like your parents, but they will not yell at you when you make a mistake, and it is clear and easy."

John Miller is 16, he says experience on the road is important but decision making and limiting distractions is the key. "My friends were actually respectable to me and I asked them before they got in the car that you will stay buckled and not goof off because you are my responsibility."

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