New driver education program now required for teens

New driver education program now required for teens

A license to drive is a license to freedom for some teenagers, but the license to freedom can be a little scary as many teenager can easily become distracted while driving.

"Distraction may not be a cell phone, it could be the radio, it could be the passenger, it could be anything. Distracted driving is such a problem," said Department of Public Safety Trooper Chris Ray.

In 2014, 483 people in Texas were killed in crashes involving distracted driving. So, Trooper Ray says now they are launching a new regulation.

Starting September 1st, all teens are required to take the Impact Texas Teen Driver program. It's a free two hour course containing several videos that provide awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

"If the parent had seen what we see on a daily basis, the human life loss and the families affected, parents would want to make their child learn," said Ray.

Both Potter and Randall County had over 300 distracted driving last year. Potter had 3 fatalities and Randall had two. Several local driving schools are praising the new requirement.

"I think the more information you can provide to a student, the better. That's the way we've always felt," said President and Owner of Virtual Drive of Texas Kevin Knapp.

Knapp's driving school is all online, and says technology is important but safety is even more important.

"We encourage our teens throughout the course and messages to not be on you phone, tablet, or anything while driving," said Knapp.

While some teens might not like having to take an extra step, Knapp and Ray agree parents would appreciate the added education.

For more information on the Impact Texas Teen Driver program, go to The Texas Department of Public Safety's website.