Leto students lobby for more driver's education funding
If it weren't for my high school driver's education class, I never would have learned to drive. My Cuban mother sheltered me as much as possible by trying to keep me out of the driver's seat. At 15, I would beg and plead for her to let me attempt a short spin. But alas, she was a stickler and didn't budge. Finally, during my junior year in high school, I signed up for driver's education and, a few months shy of turning 18, I got my driver's license. If it hadn't been for this course, who knows when I would have learned to drive. Needless to say, high school driver's education classes hold a special place in my heart. And it was nice to hear how some high school students fought to make sure the behind-the-wheel driver education program in Hillsborough County public schools received more funding.Leto High's Student Advocates Impacting Legislation members and their social studies teacher Kimberly Garcia recently requested that the county increase the money allocated to the program from revenue collected from traffic tickets. Prior to the request, $3 from every traffic ticket issued in the county went to driver's education. The Leto students met with Hillsborough County Commissioners and persuaded them to increase the amount to $5 from every ticket. The 2006 Dori Slosberg Driver Education Safety Act allows the county to collect a fee from civil traffic tickets to benefit driver's education programs. The act was the brainchild of state Rep. Irving Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, whose 14-year-old daughter, Dori, died in a 1996 car crash while not wearing a seatbelt. A news release from the Hillsborough County school district said driver's education classes are offered in all 27 high schools and serve about 9,000 students annually. The money received from traffic fees will help enhance the program with technology such as driving simulators, which help students experience driving in the rain, at night or on the interstate, without leaving their classroom. Send traffic and transportation information, questions or comments to [email protected] or call (727) 815-1059. Follow her at www.twitter.com/JessSteersClear.