As the state of Ohio tries to keep kids from learning to drive, its leaders are putting on a show.
One of the state’s most well-known defense instructors is now on the job, and he is bringing his passion for defense training to a new class that’s been added to the school’s website.
The “Defensive Driving School,” which is now open to the public, offers two- and four-week classes for adults and children ages 3 to 12.
The school has been operating since July, and instructors are taking students in two classes each, said Jeff DeBord, the school director.
There are no restrictions on where the school can be found, and DeBordon said that while he doesn’t want the classes to be exclusive, it’s not the only way to get in on the action.
“The more kids who want to learn how to drive and have fun doing it, the better,” DeBond said.
The school’s first class, which is set to start next week, will be held in the school gymnasium and will include instruction on how to handle traffic, navigate on the road and deal with a traffic jam.
In a news release, the Ohio Department of Transportation said the new classes will help the state to “strengthen the standards of instruction in defensive driving.”
The department is not saying when or how many classes it plans to offer, but said that in the next six months, it plans “to expand the class offerings to include more specialized learning styles.”
The new classes are part of a larger effort to make driving a safe activity for young people, said Jennifer Smith, director of the Center for Traffic Safety at Ohio State University.
“We want to be the safest driving experience we can possibly be,” Smith said.
“If you are not driving at all, you are driving unsafely.”
There’s a growing demand for a safer driving education.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in March that the number of traffic deaths linked to distracted driving jumped to 14,093 last year.
The number of drivers killed in crashes with another vehicle fell from 11,818 to 10,097 last year, according to statistics compiled by the National Safety Council.
While there are some benefits to a school that teaches safety, like avoiding distracted driving and speeding, there are also risks.
Some of the new instructors will be involved in driving school at some point, but the state is not giving them specific assignments or certifications, Smith said, adding that the program is still in its infancy.