RALEIGH, N.C.(WNCT)- In North Carolina, driver’s education classes are currently funded by the state and offered in the public school systems. The Senate’s new proposed budget eliminates funding for those classes.
“Without drivers training there are not a lot of ways that a students could really learn how to drive,” Dr. Steve Mazingo, Superintendent of Lenoir County Public Schools said.
If the Senate’s version of the budget is approved it could do three things.
1. Costs for driver education could rise past the 65 dollar cap that is currently in place.
2. The class could be eliminated from the schools forcing students to use private companies, which tends to cost more.
3. The driver education requirement could be eliminated all together.
“It’s absolutely essential that you provide driver education training for our young people”, Mazingo said. “Its the right thing to do for them and it’s the right thing to do for the general public.”
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. With the new budget the Senate would potentially make it easier for teens to get a license.
Wayne Barwick, a driver education instructor, said, “I don’t see what cutting funds would be more important than the life of a teenager.”
If students have to pay more for the driver education course that could result in some students not having the opportunity to take the class.
“For 50 percent of our kids it would be devastating because that would take away any opportunity they have to get behind the wheel of a car,” Barwick said.
The proposed budget would also effect driver education businesses.
Eddie Jordan, the owner of The Jordan Driving School, said, “it will affect business as far as the amount of students that we teach. Also, I have 35 employees that will be directly affected.”
The state budget is still being considered but cannot be accepted without the approval of the house. The Senate is expected to have its final reading of the budget tomorrow. If passed, it will then go to the House for them to either approve or reject the Senate’s version.