Possible changes to driver's ed program - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Possible changes to driver's ed program

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South Dakota's Department of Public Safety is taking a look at our driver's ed program.

A research team is observing other states' programs in a long-range study to get an idea of where they can improve our classes.

Right now, South Dakota driver's ed students have classroom education for 30 hours and 12 hours behind the wheel -- six driving with an instructor and six watching the instructor drive.

But they're not sure that's the best way to learn.

"Sitting in the class is way too long," said Washington High School freshman, Delton Pease.

"I think we should have more driving time than class time. Once you read the book and after you do a couple worksheets, it's pretty basic," said Washington High School freshman, Jayden Behnke.

Changes may be on the horizon, depending on an 18 month study by the Department of Public Safety.

They're trying to determine how to make new drivers safer and the students think it would be best if they were with the instructor for more time.

Because teenagers learning from their parents isn't necessarily the best option.

"They're decent drivers, but obviously it would be more beneficial to learn from an instructor who knows what he's talking about," said Washington High School sophomore Hailey Vanhull.

Their instructor Mark Dunbar agrees, more experience behind the wheel can only help.

"In a real world where money wasn't an issue, yeah it would be nice to put them in a car for at least 12 hours," said Dunbar.

He said Sioux Falls already has a good program, but we have an advantage because of our population.

"Sioux Falls, Rapid City and some of the bigger cities, we've got a lot of different things that we can throw at the students," said Dunbar.

All the students agree they learn a lot in the classroom, but they think they'd get more out of it by spending more time behind the wheel.

The Department of Public Safety says any changes will completely depend on what the study finds.

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