Bill drops adding driver education elective in public high schools

Bill drops adding driver education elective in public high schools
Published: Oct. 20, 2023 at 5:37 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2023 at 8:37 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Car crashes are the number one cause of death for teen drivers. There is a new push to educate Georgia teenagers in the classroom.

Georgia data from the National Highway Safety Administration shows an increase in fatal crashes involving drivers 15-20 during the 2017 to 2021 period.

Currently, under Georgia law, anyone under 18 must take 30 hours of online or classroom training and 40 hours of on-the-road training with a parent or guardian.

State Rep Imani Barnes is proposing a new bill to require public schools to offer elective driving courses for students 15-17 for credit toward a student’s GPA.

“Even though we do have those private educational schools and programs, some people cannot access those services. Now is the time, we have an $11 billion surplus in our state budget and it would be ideal to put some of that money back into putting driver’s ed in our state schools,” said Barnes.

Barnes found that 20-30 schools already have elective driver’s ed courses. This change would mean school boards would get more funding to pay driving schools to offer instruction at local schools. If students can’t afford to pay the fee, they can apply for a waiver

Rachel Galotti at Nathan’s Driving School said in this day and age teens face more dangers when getting behind the wheel like speeding, road rage, and distractions like your cellphone.

“It’s a huge responsibility, when you get behind the wheel of a car, it’s like you are holding a weapon. That’s all it takes is one second,” Galotti said.

The following is a copy of the bill: