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Driver ed change advances

Published February 17, 2012 4:57 pm

Driving • Examiners warn about safety problems.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Senate committee on Friday endorsed a move to exempt adults older than age 19 from taking driver education courses, amid warnings by driving test examiners that it could put their lives at risk.

The Senate Transportation and Public Utilities and Technology Committee voted 4-1 to pass HB266 by Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, and sent it to the full Senate.

While the House previously passed it 65-2, new controversy arose on Friday through testimony by Wade Campbell, a former driving test examiner. He said he talked to numerous examiners who fear that drivers, especially from foreign nations where driving cultures are far different — and more reckless — could put their lives at risk without corrective education.

"The examiners have been in near-misses or accidents," he said. "They are very concerned that these people have not been trained with a certified driving instructor where they ... get experience from someone who will correct bad behavior, that will help them know to make head checks and signal."

Daw said 40 states do not require driver education for adults older than age 19. His amended bill would also require such people to hold a learning permit for three months, and certify that they drove at least 40 hours during that time. "The best way to learn to drive is to drive," he said.

Daw said he started pushing the bill when a constituent complained that he would need to spend $300 to $500 for a driving class for his wife, who knew how to drive well. He said research into that showed that Utah was one of few states that require such education for older adults.