Regardless of what you think about Ohio's pending option in teaching teens how to drive via online class work, it's good to see eight hours of behind-the-wheel experience remains a mandate. In fact, we think a few more hours of driving practice could be valuable.
There's a vigorous debate about the value of online training, which is being allowed in a new state law. The online work could replace 24 hours of classroom instruction. We think that's a viable option, especially in rural areas such as Washington County.
The driving instruction industry criticizes the new law, saying online instruction robs drivers-in-training of valuable interaction gained in face-to-face instruction. Critics of the new law also say students lose interaction with other students with online study.
Online proponents counter that training on the Web gives students an option of flexibility to fit studies into their family's busy lives.
Practicality has to enter into the argument here, too. Online training can teach drivers the basics while saving time and fuel.
Above all, we think drivers need a huge dose of practice behind the wheel. Nothing can replace experience. Beyond all the classroom -or online - training, drivers have to be taught that getting behind the wheel is an awesome responsibility.
That attitude must be ingrained in the minds of new drivers, whether it's accomplished via online training, classroom work, or practical experience.