Registration for driver education coming next week

CONYERS -- Parents interested in their children taking a driver education course in Rockdale County this summer can register their students for it later this month.

Registration for summer 2010 driver education is scheduled from 6 to 6:30 p.m. April 22 at the Rockdale Career Academy, located at 1064 Culpepper Drive, off Parker Road, in Conyers.

"The class size will be dependent on the number of students enrolled, the number of available cars and the number of available teachers," said Charlie Bryant, driver education instructor for Rockdale County Public Schools. "I am hoping that we can accommodate a maximum of 48 students per session."

Session 1 of summer driver education is scheduled for June 7 to July 2. Session 2 is scheduled for June 23 to July 9, which includes a break on July 2 for observance of Independence Day. Class is held from 8 to 11 a.m. each day. At registration, students sign up to drive in one of the two-hour blocks -- from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1 to 3 p.m. or 3 to 5 p.m. at RCA.

Tuition is $350 for in-county residents and $400 for out-of-county residents and must be paid in the form of cash, money order or certified check only at the time of registration.

Also at registration, parents must show their student's learner's permit or driver's license or a copy of it, and also before classes begin this summer, students must have 10 to 15 hours of driving practice.

Although the driver education course provides students with scenarios and situations that may arise while driving and provides them practice with parking and driving in heavy traffic, on the interstate and on rural roads, parents also need to help them practice driving during and after their students complete the course, Bryant said.

"The parents do the lion's share of the work, and I fine tune what they do," Bryant said. "For the parents who will give their child hours of practice during the driver ed classes, progress is very positive. I'm not saying all students can navigate to, say, the airport, but overall, those students whose parents give the student additional practice during the class do well."

After students successfully complete the class, Bryant will issue them a certificate. Students taking driver education courses can reduce insurance costs with some companies.

"Driver education does not guarantee success or immunize the students from potential risk, but those students who I teach and try to convince that if they so choose to, drive in a safe, low-risk manner, wear their seat belt religiously, tell me they are ticket- and collision-free drivers," Bryant said.

Georgia students who are under 17 years old are required to take a driver education course before they can obtain their driver's license. Local public schools offer driver training services along with state-approved driving schools. A listing of schools can be found at the Web site of the state Department of Driver Services, www.dds.ga.gov.

Next school year, Bryant will teach driver education courses at Heritage High School for the first and fourth quarters, Rockdale County High School for the second quarter and Salem High School for the third quarter. Registration for those programs will be held at a later date.

More information about the program is available at www.rockdale.k12.ga.us or by calling Bryant at 770-388-5677, ext. 3189.