State Funded Driver Education Ending

Post date: Apr 7, 2015 1:05:47 PM

After June 30, 2015, North Carolina will no longer fund Driver Education for public, private, home or charter schools, yet, Driver Education will still remain a requirement for anyone under age eighteen to get a permit or license.

Funded since 1977 with funds from the Highway Trust Fund, NC Legislatures have opted to make Driver Education funding a non-recurring expense as of June 30, 2015. Three dollars of the Highway Trust Fund came from each license plate sold in North Carolina. The fee was levied in 1977 to pay for driver education and this amount will remain a part of license plate fees, however, it will not be funding teen driver education.

Driver Education has been a right-of-passage for generations of teen drivers in North Carolina. With funding eliminated, each school system will still be required by North Carolina General Statute to continue to offer Driver Education and under current law, can charge a student up to $65.00. The local system then must make up the difference “with available funds”. Most school systems across the state believe the cost to the school could be $200 or more per student.

North Carolina has a graduated licensure program which requires 16 and 17 year olds to complete Driver Education to get a license. No training is required once they turn 18 years old. Lee Roy Ledford, owner of Mountain Professionals, the Bakersville-based driving school that contracts with Yancey County Schools as well as eight other school systems across Western North Carolina, states “Without professionally-trained driving experience, we believe the number of traffic incidents and fatalities among teens will skyrocket as well as increase car insurance rates across the board.” Ledford adds, “Driving is no longer a luxury in today’s world, it is a necessity. Teaching teenagers how to drive is more complex than it was 30 or 40 years ago.”

Yancey County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton stated, “We are carefully watching a bill that has been filed in Raleigh that would restore this funding. We hope there is enough support for the bill to pass and fund Driver Education. This is simply one more financial blow to public school systems and the parents of students in North Carolina.”