Driving Instructor Supports New Law

Driving instructor Sue Sharman.
Driving instructor Sue Sharman.

Remember when you were almost 16? You probably couldn't wait to get your license. But now, there are a few more rules before teens can get behind the wheel.

One driving instructor thinks it's a great idea.

Sue Sharman knows all about driving safety. "You can predict what you are going to do, but you can't predict what somebody else is going to do," she said.

This driving instructor has four children of her own, so she's experienced the pressure of teens wanting to get behind the wheel.

"I personally feel these kids should be 17 instead of 16 when they get their license anyway," she said.

Under Georgia law, teens can get their license at 16, but beginning this month, it will take them a little longer.

"If they don't have their 40 hours behind the wheel or their 30 hours in the classroom or at the computer learning," explained Sharman, they can't get their licenses.

Sharman is all for the law. She thinks kids are just too aggressive on the roads. And the numbers reflect it. In 2006 alone, there were 26 16-year-olds killed in car crashes in Georgia; 13 were driving. Nineteen 16-year-olds were driving the car when someone else was killed, according to Georgia Department of Transportation.

"If you're issuing tickets to teenagers for speeding, running red lights and stop signs, then it's very hazardous on our roads," said Sharman.

But knowing the new law requires 16-year-olds who want their licenses to take driver's ed, Sharman hopes she can teach more of these young drivers to be careful.

"They will be learning all phases of driving, what to do in an event of an emergency, what to expect and how to be a more defensive driver," said Sharman.

And maybe this extra class and driving time will produce safer drivers.

The new rules started the first of the year. Sixteen-year-olds have to complete a driver's education course, plus 40 hours of supervised driving.

Reported by:  David Hall, dhall@wtoc.com