Opinion: LISD should offer drivers ed as an elective


Krista Fleming

Hebron should reopen drivers ed as a nine-week elective to create safer drivers and allow students time to practice driving during the week.

“A car,” my dad told me the first time I ever got behind the wheel, “is a death machine.” 

I had fallen victim to the same thing many teenagers learning to drive through online courses do: I did not care. I waited for the lessons to be over, barely bothering to read what was on my computer screen and waiting until I could click to the next part. That night, once it finally clicked how important driving rules were, I went back over all the signs, right-of-ways and rules I could find. 

Many of my friends, however, did not get the same spiel and now, they’re driving around with barely passed tests — as legal as anyone else, yet twice as dangerous. Online drivers ed isn’t cutting it anymore, and in-person classes are nearly impossible to attend with the little time students have outside of school and extracurricular activities. Hebron should reopen drivers ed as a nine-week elective to create safer drivers and give students time to participate in extracurriculars after school without sacrificing sleep or school work.

I cannot count the number of times someone has asked me what a sign on the road means when I’m sitting in the passenger seat of their car, or the rules jumble together in one of my friend’s heads and they start driving when they do not have the right of way. If schools were to reopen drivers ed as an elective again, there would be grades assigned to how well you know the facts, and a group of peers would be more readily available to ask for help. It would also provide an easier method of teaching, as the COVID-19 shut-down of in-person learning proved that virtual learning does not compare to hands-on learning in a classroom. Drivers ed is supposed to teach future drivers the rules they will encounter on the road, but because online learning makes it easier to be distracted, it is failing to do its primary job: create safe drivers.

Not only would offering drivers ed as an elective help students learn to a more full extent, but it would also allow more time for them to learn. This year, I’ve found myself with electives I don’t really care about and, many times, I will have days where I’ve finished all my work and am left with nothing to do in the class. Then, when I get home, I am often bombarded with a thousand things I have to do — on top of drivers ed. Being able to learn in the classroom instead of spending time in electives I didn’t want as much would open up a lot of room in my schedule to do things I want to do after school or get ahead in schoolwork.

Many other schools do this across America, but it is also important to recognize that most of those schools do not run on the accelerated block program Hebron does. While that’s something to consider, our long classes would benefit the potential elective, especially factoring in it becoming a nine-week course. Most lessons take an hour, which would provide enough time for students to ask questions and talk to each other without the lesson being rushed or too short. This doesn’t include any tests, quizzes or assignments students would do, which would push the curriculum to cover the entire nine weeks. According to the LISD website, drivers ed used to be offered after school but had not enough attendees to cover for vehicle procurement and maintenance, but an in-person class during school hours would open up a lot more room in the busy schedule students have. 

At the end of the day, the school would gain much more than it would lose. Students would be able to take drivers ed in-person to fill a potential hole in their schedule, but they wouldn’t be required to do it if there were other options they would rather pursue. Being able to have a stronger grasp on the material would also lead them to become safer drivers, something that would benefit the overall community. There’s no downside to offering drivers ed and, even if it costs the school a little more to get the curriculum, it’s infinitely worth it if it prevents losing another teenager to uneducated driving.