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Newton County Sheriff's Office offers free driver education course

COVINGTON — Turning the keys of the car over to a teenage driver can be a stressful experience for parents, so the Newton County Sheriff’s Office is hosting a free driver education seminar to help Newton County parents prepare their teens to drive. Sponsored by the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute at the University of Georgia, P.R.I.D.E.(Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error) will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Newton County Sheriff’s Office located at 15151 Alcovy Road.

There have been some changes in the law concerning teen drivers. For instance, the new law requires that anyone who applies for a permanent drivers license must have a parent, legal guardian or responsible adult sign a verification form affirming that the teen has completed 40 hours, including six hours at night, of supervised driving experience.

Many parent are unsure how to supervise a new teen driver, said NCSO Traffic Unit Deputy J.L. Redlinger.

“But parental involvement is key to reducing teen crashes and fatalities,” he said. “Teens want the practice time so they can get their license, but need to know how to communicate with their nervous parents.”

Redlinger said the driver’s education course is designed to fill that void and prepare 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds to drive. The course will help parents and guardians become more aware of their own driving behaviors, teach parents and guardians how to help their teens become safer drivers and help parents/guardians and teens learn what they need to do during supervised practice driving time. The driver’s course also aims to help alter attitudes and driving behaviors of novice teen drivers.

P.R.I.D.E. is designed to help young people become better decision-makers and it will help parents and their new teen drivers learn what they need to do during those 40 hours of practice driving time. The ultimate goal is to reduce risk-taking behavior and youth-related car crashes.

GTIPI offers these two hour P.R.I.D.E. seminars statewide. A teen and at least one parent or guardian must register to attend. A registration form can be obtained by calling 678-625-1469, picking up a form at the Sheriff’s Office or emailing jredlinger@newtonsheriffga.org.