Young drivers on their own

Marissa Rushton, Opinion Writer

Prior to the  C O V I D – 1 9 outbreak in March of 2020, Driver’s Ed was a required in- person class kids would take before being able to get their driver’s license or school permit. Students would attend lessons in a classroom setting and set up practice driving times with the teacher and one other student. This ensured that the students were capable and ready to drive on their own. Nowadays in Iowa, the Driver’s Ed classroom portion is held online and the student is responsible for learning all the information on their own. Do you believe that road safety should be taught in person? Kids need to learn how to drive safely in a classroom setting with a teacher because it helps them retain more information. Learning online does not help students obtain information; they are only doing the program to get it done and none of the knowledge will stick with them. According to “Think Impact”, after an increase in online learning, there was also a 30% increase in failing grades. If these new drivers are learning how to drive through a computer screen, it is safe to assume that it may be harder for them to remember all the rules of the road. This creates danger on the road to other drivers and pedestrians. The Driver’s Ed program was originally created to ensure that new drivers were safe on the road. With the online version, we are no longer sure it is safe to drive with kids who learned the rules through a computer screen. Now students also have to find time to get on their computer and learn the thirty hours of information on their own. Young teens find it hard to find the motivation to do the work when it is not a scheduled time at a place other than their home. Kids have to figure out how to fit in thirty hours of learning in thirty days. While this may not seem very difficult, young teens are very busy and their schedules may not allow them to do more than one hour a day. Maybe someone else in their family also needs to use the same computer. The student now has even less time to complete the course. There is also a limit on how many hours you can do per day. You are only allowed to do three one hour sessions per day. This adds stress to the kids because some may want to do more to get it done because their schedule is so full or maybe they are behind and do not have enough days to get it all done in time. Finding time to sit down and do an hour’s worth of work can be difficult and stressful for these fourteen and fifteen year olds. Another reason Driver’s Ed should be taught in person is because some families may not have the right equipment to run the program. You are not allowed to use any school owned device because some of the videos are more gruesome and would not be allowed on them so students must use a personal computer that their family owns. Not only do they need to use their personal computer but the computer must have a certain speed and Adobe settings. This makes it difficult for kids who may not have a newer computer available to them to take the course. I personally took the online Driver’s Ed in March of 2020. It was very stressful and frustrating for me because it was beginning to be spring, it was so beautiful outside and it was so much work to get done all by myself. I could not focus while learning from a computer screen and my parents had to buy a new computer with a faster speed in order for me to use the program. Driver’s Ed should be taught in a classroom setting with a teacher present because it helps kids learn better, makes it safer on the road, reduces stress in kids and parents do not have to worry about having the right computer. These young teens should not have to learn about the rules of driving on their own.