Report: Student drivers unprepared for test

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A state watchdog group is giving driver’s education courses in North Carolina a bad grade.

The program evaluation division of the North Carolina General Assembly released a report Wednesday showing that since 2008, 46 percent of teens failed the written test required to get a learner’s permit after passing a driver’s education class.

“Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in teenagers,” said John Turcotte, director of the division. “It’s a serious problem, and driver’s education has a strong role in that.”

Turcotte says the state needs to encourage more parent-teen driving time.

School districts which currently use individual curriculums also need one state-mandated curriculum, according to Turcotte.

"Practice, parental supervision and patience on the part of the child," Turcotte suggests would help improve rates.

“Forty-six percent is very high,” said Randy Wiles, owner of Wiles Driving School.

Wiles has been a driving instructor for more than 21 years.

"I've done it in the public schools and privately," Wiles said.

Seventy to 80 percent of his students pass the written test to get their driver's license.

Wiles says the high failure rate could be caused by crowded driver’s education classes.

“I don’t have 50 in a class like I would in the public schools,” he said. “It’s more one on one.”

It’s the kind of personal attention he says may help make roads much safer. 


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