Teens now have the option of skipping the classroom and instead completing their driver's education online thanks to legislation signed by Gov. John Kasich last week.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, online courses can now replace the required 24 hours of classroom instruction that teens must complete to get their driver's license. However, they will still be required to finish an additional eight hours behind the wheel with an instructor.
Driving schools across the state say in-person instruction is crucial for teaching teens safe driving habits.
"I can't imagine how they're going to teach this online and not have any interaction between kids and instructors, who's policing this?" said Liz McGarity, office manager of Master and Sylvania Driving School in Toledo. "I just can't imagine how it's going to be effective."
At driving school, teens learn many driving techniques before even getting in a vehicle, like how to sit and hold the steering wheel, how to check their blind spots and how alcohol impairs drivers with a drunk goggle demonstration.
McGarity said there are 26 Master and Sylvania locations statewide and about 1,000 driving instructors in the state.
"Basically, (Kasich's) losing income taxes from instructors, he's putting people out of work... It just doesn't make sense to me, he's putting driving schools out of business." she said.
The Dispatch reports online education costs about $100 or less compared to the $400 price tag for traditional driving schools. These courses can also be completed at the teen's convenience, helping many with rigorous academic and athletic schedules find time to complete the training.
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