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Driving schools oppose bill that would allow online driver’s ed classes

No surprise here: Driving schools are against a bill in the Legislature that would allow students to take their classroom driver’s ed training online.
The Rochester paper quotes Northgate Driving School owner Betsy Donovan: “We do a lot in the clas

No surprise here: Driving schools are against a bill in the Legislature that would allow students to take their classroom driver’s ed training online.

The Rochester paper quotes Northgate Driving School owner Betsy Donovan: “We do a lot in the classroom. We talk a lot about the risks that are out there and how to drive with their parents. We do a lot more than teaching how to pass a test.”

She also wonders whether an online classroom experience would teach students to understand not only the rules of the road but how to make smart decisions in dangerous situations.

But DFL state Rep Steve Simon of St. Louis Park, one of the bill supporters, told a House committee: “This really is about allowing one other option on the menu for how kids can get their driver’s training.”

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House Public Information Services said opponents at the hearing earlier this month worried that “online training does not provide for different scenarios, such as weather conditions or texting and driving, and that a classroom offers more opportunity for discussion, practical demonstrations, guest speakers, local tailoring, interaction with other students and accountability for every student.”

“Our major concern is that the safety of teens is being compromised for convenience,” said Cindy Thienes, secretary/treasurer of the Minnesota Driving School Association told the committee. “Generally, teens are easily distracted and they tend to look for the easiest way out. … Sometimes safety requires inconvenience.”

Supporters say the change would help students who live far from a training class or who want to take the class at a time convenient for them.