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Senate Bill 295: Authorizing Parent-Taught Driver Education
Senate Bill 295 in Montana would authorize a parent to become a certified instructor for teaching driver's education to his own child.
A significant victory occurred Friday, February 21, 2003, on Senate Bill 295. After the hard work of many, and numerous telephone calls from home educators, Senate Bill 295 passed the Senate 31-19. This reversed an earlier Senate vote of 24-25 against the bill. Since the Montana Legislature adjourned sine die on April 26, 2003, the bill is now dead.
We supported senate bill 295 because:
- The student will receive 12 months of supervised driving. (Some public schools offer the program in as little as a two-week period.)
- The student will drive a minimum of five hours each month for 12 months (Public schools only require six total hours of driving.)
- The new permit is 24 months in length, so if a parent believes his child needs more than the required 12 months, he can continue the training process up to two years. (The current student driver permits are only for six months. The old permits will not change and will remain available.)
- Parents have the flexibility to choose a driver's education curriculum that best meets the needs of their family.
- Many families now are only receiving limited access to public school driver's education programs.
- If public school access is unavailable, the students are denied a driver's learning permit until age 16. SB 295 will allow students at 14 1/2 to receive a driver's permit. (Public schooled drivers education students can receive a learner's permit at 14 1/2.)
- Public school driver's education programs vary in cost from just a few dollars to around $400, becoming cost prohibitive to many families.
- Safety is a serious concern for many parents. In most public school driver's education programs, the student is required to ride along with another young, unlicensed, and inexperienced driver at the wheel.
- The public school driver's education programs should not have a complete monopoly on the permits. Parents should not be restricted from training their own children.
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