Bill aims to make S.C. roads safer by requiring more driver's ed

News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- For former deputy, now drive-instructor Steve Deibel, safe driving is his business.

"For a 15 to 24 year old age group, the number one killer is traffic crashes, so just getting behind the wheel of a car is the most dangerous thing that a young driver's going to do,” says the owner of Aiken Driving Academy.

According to a recent study, South Carolina also has the second worst drivers in the nation. That's why Deibel is driving for a change.

"Well, I think what Senator [Shane] Massey has done is outstanding. He's being proactive,” says Deibel.

A pre-filed bill drafted by the Aiken lawmaker would require more rigorous driver education. A driver at least 15 years old and under the age of 21 would be required to take a driver education course under the legislation. A person 21 or older who's never had a license would have to take an 8-hour defensive driving course.

"Right now, in South Carolina, only 15 and 16 year old drivers are required to take driver education. Once you turn 17, you're not required to take any formalized training whatsoever,” Deibel says.

The average driver education course costs around $300. He says an average defensive driving course costs around $75.

"The cost is minimal compared to the cost of a funeral or the cost of a ticket or a crash. Almost every insurance company will offer a discount for driver education,” he says.

Deibel says classes, nowadays, are no joke. They include class time and drive time; students aren’t just driving around with the football coach anymore.

"Training is the key, and our young drivers deserve that. It's the number one killer for their age group, and as adults, we have to do better,” he says.

Pasted below is the bill in its entirety:

S. 849 -- Senator Massey: A BILL TO AMEND CHAPTER 1, TITLE 56 OF THE 1976 CODE OF LAWS, RELATING TO DRIVER'S LICENSE, BY ADDING SECTION 56-1-45 TO PROVIDE IN ADDITION TO OTHER REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN FULL LICENSURE, A PERSON AT LEAST FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND UNDER TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE WHO HAS NEVER HELD A FORM OF LICENSE EVIDENCING PREVIOUS DRIVING EXPERIENCE MUST ENROLL IN AND SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE A DRIVER TRAINING COURSE CONDUCTED BY A DRIVER TRAINING SCHOOL LICENSED UNDER CHAPTER 23 OF THIS TITLE OR, IF REGULARLY ENROLLED IN A HIGH SCHOOL OF THIS STATE WHICH CONDUCTS A DRIVER'S TRAINING COURSE, A COURSE TAUGHT BY A QUALIFIED INSTRUCTOR TO OBTAIN FULL LICENSURE, AND TO PROVIDE A PERSON TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER WHO HAS NEVER HELD A FORM OF LICENSE EVIDENCING PREVIOUS DRIVING


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