Governor Pat Quinn, of Illinois, has recently successfully got new measures for driver safety into law. This measure requires driver education schools to comply with stricter safety requirements in terms of the cars that they use on their sessions.
As incited by investigations conducted by cars.com and the Tribune, the law raises the bar in the aspects of safety, uniform curriculum standards for both commercial and public driving schools, and increased disclosure of driver’s education fees and costs.
Senator Susan Garrett of Lake Forest states that such measures are implemented as an attempt to obliterate issues in safety and transparency.
September 2011 reports from the Tribune state that no state agency monitors the cars used by school districts in their driver’s education programs, wherein schools normally choose smaller, older and cheaper cars that resulted low scores in crash tests, and without even side air bags.
Garrett furthered that the aforementioned reports revealed that most of these cars were very old, and that the students did not have any choice but to drive them without knowing the safety repercussions it may entail.
The recently signed law requires five-year old driver’s education cars (or even those with more than 75,000 mileage) be inspected every year by the Illinois Department of Transportation. On the other hand, commercial driving schools need their cars to be checked by IDOT at least twice a year which would cost around $25 per car, per inspection.
Assistant Superintendent Robert Rammer said that among 200 Wheaton-based School Districts, the recently passed law will affect all four of the districts. He even encouraged people to abide by this by saying that it yields positive results since it provides safety information for us, not to mention it is not cost-prohibitive.
A group of about 150 driver’s education cars among Chicago Public Schools, recorded as Illinois’ largest public driver’s education program, got the worst rank around the Chicago area. Some cars had more years on them than the students maneuvering them. In compliance to the law, however, 20 new cars were ordered by the district according to a CPS spokesman.
Ben Schwarm, deputy executive director of the Illinois Association of School Boards, had strongly gone against the bill considering the tough economic predicaments that Illinois schools are going through on top of other new issues that need more focus.
According to him, we have all been looking for ways to reduce red tape with the current tight financial condition of the state and the budget cuts made to the education sector–this bill simply hurts more than heals the current condition.
A better job of informing parents and providing the government a more solid breakdown of driver’s education cost will be expected of district driver’s education providers, especially those who are aiming to raise their fees.
Other than that, the office of Secretary of State, Jesse White, together with the Illinois State Board of Education has promised to work hand in hand to obliterate the gaps that separate commercial and public driver’s education programs.
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