Va. to Launch Driver's Ed Requirement for Parents - NBC4 Washington

Va. to Launch Driver's Ed Requirement for Parents

Parents to attend 90-minute parent-teen driver program



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    A new state law effective in September requires parents to attend driver's education class with their children before they can get their licenses.

    "It's a 90-minute program that's in addition to the classroom instruction that hopes to inform parents,” said Liz Payne, Coordinator for Health and Physical Education for Fairfax County Public Schools.

    Fairfax County, the largest school district in northern Virginia, is trying to get the word out early and put together a plan of action.

    "In that first year of driving, it's very important to try to educate the parent and the teen of the dangers that come along with driving,” said Fairfax County police officer Rick Call.

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    He will co-teach the program at Centreville High School, focusing on parental responsibility, the dangers of drunken driving and a bevy of teen driving laws that many parents don't know.

    "There are restrictions in Virginia for drivers under 18 as far as how many people they can have in a car and that's part of getting the word out to parents and educating,” Call said.

    The new law to public school driver's ed and private driving schools. In Fairfax County schools alone, that could be almost 13,000 parents.

    State Delegate Dave Albo proposed the new law after learning it had been successful in Prince William County.

    "Basically, they cut teenage accidents in half,” said Albo. “So I said, 'Wow, this thing is really working. Maybe we should bring it statewide.'"

    Other lawmakers balked at the idea, but the northern Virginia delegation jumped at it despite complaints from parents who said they just don't have the time.

    "I always write back and say on my seven-mile commute from my house to my office, I drive by three roadside memorials to teenagers who died from losing control of their car," said Albo.

    "Any crash or any fatality, of course, is one too many,” Payne said. “So I think this was an attempt to address that issue."

    Parents will be able to sign up for the sessions they can attend soon and will have to have proof before their teenager can get his driver's license.