Driver's Education Program kicks off at Arnold and Rutherford high schools

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Buckle up and start your engines, Monday marked the start of Bay District Schools' Driver's Education program.

This image shows students driving at the Driver's Education program at Arnold High School. (WJHG/WECP)

Student drivers got behind the wheel at Arnold High School for their first day of the program.

"We're introducing kids to the cars, a lot of these kids haven't driven before, and so we're trying to get them to do some pre-car checks, walk around the car, check the tires, things like that, and then really focus on having their seat belts, their seat adjusted, mirrors adjusted, and then finally getting them out on the range and driving," said Driver's Ed Instructor Matt Teplicek.

The program consists of two different sessions lasting three weeks each. It's seen huge growth this year with 240 students taking part.

"We used to only have one site at Rutherford and now we've doubled the intake of kids and we have one here at Arnold and one at Rutherford," said Teplicek.

Due to the popularity of the program, students are chosen through a lottery. The instructors are district teachers certified to teach Driver's Ed.

"They've gone through extensive certification, they have to take additional online classes, then they have to get certified through the DMV, they have to add it to their teaching certificate," said Instructional Specialist at Bay District Schools, Alana Simmons.

Instructors are paid through the Dori Slosberg Act passed by the county.

"There is a few dollars added to each traffic citation and all of that money goes to fund to paying for the teachers," said Simmons.

The cars are donated by Bill Cramer Chevrolet.

The program's main focus is safety on the roads, whether it be teaching the basics like using your blinker or tackling bigger issues.

"We also focus on the big..kind of the epidemic, in a way, which is cellular devices and staying focused while driving," said Teplicek.

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