IA Drivers Weigh In: Parent-Taught Drivers Education - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

IA Drivers Weigh In: Parent-Taught Drivers Education

Posted: Updated: Feb 12, 2014 09:58 PM

Parents who homeschool their children often teach reading, math, and any other courses mandated by the state.

But in Iowa, by next fall, parents who home school will also have the option to teach their kids how to drive.

Rules and guidelines for the controversial new law aren't expected to be completed until the end of the summer, but Iowa drivers are already divided on the issue.

16-year-old Emily Hammer proudly shows off the driver's license she received on Wednesday.

Hammer took a mandatory driver's education course and spent six hours behind the wheel with a certified instructor.

"You had to be really good at it," Hammer said. "You had to understand and you had to pay attention."

But she doesn't credit her formal driving instruction for her success --

"I've been driving for two years with my parents," Hammer said. "I drive on the interstates and I drive in the snow, I drive all around the towns."

She says it's the hours spent behind the wheel with mom and dad that helped her learn. Hammer thinks kids who are homeschooled are lucky to have the option of a parent-taught drivers education class.

"Parents understand their kids," she said, "and they know how to get through to them."

But other drivers aren't so sure about the new law --

"Math and science are still good," said Iowa driver, Don Marple, "Parents can still teach that. But driving out there on today's roads, they need an instructor to do that."

Marple says his grandson is homeschooled. Still, he doesn't think most parents would even want to teach an entire drivers education course by themselves.

"I actually see them saying, 'I don't want the responsibility,'" said Marple.

"I think it's definitely better for there to be a formal education," said Shamalla Gibson, an Iowa driver at the Davenport DMV.

"The relationship between a mother, a father and their children -- it's a lot more personal," Gibson said. She thinks there's too much emotion involved in a parent-child relationship for parents to be objective instructors.

"You come to a professional and they'll look at your skills," said Gibson, "what you're doing right and wrong."

Despite opinions, though, the new law is already in effect. And, once the rules are in place by the end of the summer, parent-taught drivers education will be a reality across Iowa.

According to the Iowa DOT, in order to teach their children, parents will need to use a certified drivers education course. 

There are several Internet courses already available but the Iowa DOT is still in the process of choosing which ones meet curriculum guidelines.


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