Missouri Valley High School offers a Driver’s Education course each summer for .5 credit points.
Students aged 14 and older who have a driving permit are able to take the course, but Principal Kristie Kruckman added that they must have driving hours with a parent before they are allowed to drive with an instructor.
The district recently purchased a new tool, totaling about $9,000, to train young drivers, a simulator, paid for with funds from the Driver’s Education budget.
The cost included the equipment, hardware, software and a seated case, according to Kruckman.
“Our previous simulator was approximately 12 years old. We were not able to get parts or update the software any longer,” Kruckman said. “It was a single screen and didn't allow for the variety of driving scenarios that this one does.”
Some of those scenarios include distracted driving, winter conditions, driving in the rain, driving in hills and mountains as well as city scenarios, highway driving and it covers parallel parking.
“It pretty much does it all! With the multiple screens, it allows for a more realistic setting for driving as you are able to view almost the full range during the driving experience,” Kruckman said. “It will be a great supplemental tool to creating ‘uncreatable’ driving scenarios for our students.”
Students have started using the new simulator, as they complete the classroom portion of the class, according to Kruckman.
“It is actually very realistic! So, if you are a good driver, it rewards you. At the end of each scenario of driving, you have points deducted for any ‘driving violations’ that occurred and it tells you what they were. It gives immediate feedback while in a safe environment. I get motion sick, and it was so realistic for me, that this became a bit of an issue as I was testing it out! (It is) definitely a good tool for our students,” she added.
Iowa code requires Driver’s Education students to complete:
- A minimum of 30 hours of classroom instruction, to include at least four hours concerning substance abuse, 20 minutes of railroad crossing safety instruction, awareness about sharing the road with bicyclists and motorcyclists, and instruction related to becoming an organ donor.
- Six hours of laboratory instruction.
- Instruction on routine maintenance of motor vehicles to maximize energy efficiency and safety as well as instruction on the operation of motor vehicles to maximize both.
“They also spend time discussing distracted driving and the new legal implications that came out about a year ago,” Kruckman said.