KEARNEY – The Nebraska Safety Center provided driver education for more than 800 teens in communities across the state last year.
This important training, which prepares students to properly operate a motor vehicle, will continue during the coronavirus pandemic.
Part of the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the Safety Center is now offering driver education courses through an online format.
“Driver education is such a vital program for young teens and we want to ensure this opportunity remains available for Nebraska families,” said Erin Howard, the center’s transportation safety manager.
The online program utilizes the same curriculum, developed by AAA, that’s presented during traditional in-person classes. This includes 24 to 30 hours of coursework designed to engage teens while teaching them driving skills and safety tips. The course materials feature videos, driving simulations, interactive exercises and quizzes.
Each student has six months to complete the online portion of the program while working at their preferred pace.
Once a student passes the online coursework, they will schedule five hours of behind-the-wheel driving with a certified Safety Center instructor. This portion of the driver education program will be available as it’s allowed under health guidelines related to COVID-19.
Behind-the-wheel driving instruction will be offered in the communities of Ainsworth, Broken Bow, Chadron, Franklin, Grand Island, Hastings, Holdrege, Kearney, North Platte, Ogallala and Utica. The Safety Center will provide vehicles at each location.
Students must have a school learner’s permit or learner’s permit before they can begin the in-person driving.
Driver education is open to youths ages 14 and older. Participants younger than 18 who complete the program don’t need to take the written or driving tests through the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles to receive a provisional operator’s permit.
The driver education program costs $330 per student, with payment plans available. Registration is available at unk.edu/dred.
For more information, contact the Nebraska Safety Center at 308-865-8256 or email traffic safety specialist DeAnn Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Safety Center will continue to offer online driver education, even after restrictions related to COVID-19 are lifted. Safety Center staff hope to resume in-person classes sometime this summer, once it is safe to do so.