Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Drivers Ed on Fast Track Survey Shows Strong Backing for Program

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Drivers Ed on Fast Track Survey Shows Strong Backing for Program

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- An overwhelming percentage of Georgia AAA members

back mandatory drivers education, a survey released yesterday

suggests, and state lawmakers might be preparing to take the

next step in their efforts to reduce teen road tragedies.

As the survey by AAA Auto Club South -- which has 350,000

members -- was being released in Atlanta, a joint House-Senate

study committee in Savannah was beginning a series of public

hearings to consider whether drivers education should be

required for Georgians seeking a license.

During the 1997 General Assembly session, lawmakers approved

a wide-ranging bill creating a graduated licensing system and

curfews for teens.

Sen. Diana Harvey Johnson, D-Savannah, who co-chairs the study

committee, said it only makes sense for lawmakers to now

consider drivers education.

"If you have a problem, I would think the first step would be

education," Johnson said. "It may be step two [for lawmakers],

but some people feel education should have been step one."

In Southeast Georgia, some students who might be affected if

drivers education becomes mandatory expressed support for the

idea.

"It would ensure that we know what we're doing," said Kari

Burchett, 14, a ninth-grader at Camden County High School. "I

think it's a good idea."

Fellow student Liz Krzykowski, 15, said the roads would be

safer if every driver takes a driving course.

"You would probably learn things your parents would not

teach," Krzykowski said.

The Georgia AAA survey, conducted by Beth Schapiro and

Associates of Atlanta, found 84 percent of respondents favor

drivers education as a mandatory requirement to obtain a

license.

The big questions for lawmakers and AAA members are where to

provide drivers ed, and who will pay for it.

"Everybody wants to know, if it's good, who's going to fund

it?" Johnson said.

"We don't necessarily advocate drivers education go back into

the public schools," said Ted Allred, regional manager of AAA

Auto Club South.

Two years ago, 89 percent of surveyed members wanted it

required in Georgia's public schools. …

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