The teens have the keys: new driver's ed course officially begins

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Some new teen drivers were handed car keys Monday.

Bay District School's new Driver's Ed program kicked into gear at Rutherford High School. For these teens summer school isn't so bad.

"A lot of them are excited," said Matt Telplicek, one of the certified instructors. "And a lot of them aren't forced here by their parents, which we were pretty surprised about."

Monday's lesson was all about the basics.

"A lot of them are excited to learn how to drive and are very nervous behind the wheel, and they feel like this course will ease their nerves," Telplicek said.

The course is split evenly between the classroom and the driving course. Over the next three weeks teachers say they hope the education and hands-on experience will make the students safer drivers.

"That goal alone can help limit the amount of fatalities and traffic accidents amongst groups of this age," said Telplicek.

The students agree.

"I really do," said Matthew Stephenson, a student driver. "Because I know a couple of my friends, older, upperclassmen who have been in a couple of wrecks and stuff and I think it's because of not being able to have Driver's Ed in schools."

Sixty Bay District Schools students enrolled in the course. Although, according to instructors more than twice that numbered entered the lottery system to get into the course. School leaders say they hope to expand the course in the future.

Students who complete the course will be exempt from the driving portion of their license exam.