The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Opinion: Driver’s Education should be free

Audrey Finigan
Student drivers are common at Carlmont with many students driving themselves to school every day.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires six hours of behind-the-wheel training to get a driver’s license.

This training, however, is known to be unnecessarily costly for many families. The top seven San Mateo driving schools on Yelp range from $420-$796 for six hours of lessons. 

While it is true that not everybody needs or wants a car, the 2021 United States Census shows that 92% of Americans have access to a vehicle. This data suggests that driving is an essential life skill for nearly everyone to learn.

As price becomes an issue, people look to the least expensive schools rather than the best-rated ones.

Next, common sense tells us that unsafe drivers cause more accidents, leading to dangerous roads for everyone. Unsafe drivers are not uncommon on our roads, as car crashes are the leading cause of death for US teens.

Therefore, teaching teenagers how to drive well and safely to avoid collisions is essential.

The question then is how to decrease the cost but maintain the quality of driving schools.

In the past, many public high schools offered Driver’s Education (Ed) as an elective that one could take through the school at no cost to the student. This solution takes the financial burden off of low-income students and makes the classes more accessible. 

One problem with this is the concern that the school could be liable for any damages and injuries, leading administrators to hesitate to approve this class. 

In that case, they could contract third-party driving schools to come in as instructors, transferring most of the liability to the independent schools. 

A major obstacle to this plan is finding the required funding to support a program like Driver’s Ed.

One of two possible solutions is to petition for more state funding of public schools. If the state refuses to fund a Driver’s Ed class, it would be up to local school districts and high schools to find the money.

Thus, the second option may not be as fun for students. Schools could divert funding from other electives to fund a Driver’s Ed course. 

While classes such as art, music, and drama are entertaining for many students, Driver’s Ed provides a valuable life skill that will be necessary for most high schoolers’ lives, justifying the losses of other departments.

The unfair prices of Driver’s Ed need to be addressed. The more kids that have to choose between an affordable driving class and a quality driving class, the more likely it is that kids won’t receive the necessary training to excel as safe drivers. 

The longer we wait to improve the accessibility of education to young drivers, the more drivers there are that will merge a little too early or stop a little too late.

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About the Contributor
Audrey Finigan
Audrey Finigan, Scot Scoop Editor
Audrey Finigan is currently a junior in the Carlmont Journalism program. Her favorite part of journalism is being able to interview different types of people and hear their stories. She plays water polo on the girls varsity team.

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Opinion: Driver’s Education should be free