Drivers’ Ed Instructor Shortage Becomes Critical
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HARRISBURG, PA The State of Pennsylvania is in a state of emergency. It no longer has enough drivers’ education instructors to teach Pennsylvania young people the rules of the road. Numbers have been dwindling over the last several years, but they never reached a critical stage until this year.

“They’re dropping like flies,” said Pennsylvania Drivers’ Education Commissioner Howard Stevens. “We’ve been losing them in droves over the last few years.”

Stevens says that these drivers’ education instructors have left for a number of reasons. Some have suffered heart failure. Some have been convicted of a felony and are now serving time in Pennsylvania prisons. Others have been institutionalized. Still others are receiving medical attention for complications related to their chain-smoking habits. A final group quit after being seriously injured in work-related accidents.

“We’re trying to find a way to relieve those who are left,” said Stevens. He says that the current ratio is approximately 25,000 students for each instructor. “Something needs to be done before we lose Rod and Walter, too.”

Throughout the summer, Stevens has tried several methods of recruitment. He’s tried bribery, but he soon discovered that his annual budget wasn’t nearly large enough. He’s tried recruiting lesser felons—with the state’s help—but the majority of felons chose to stay in prison instead of being allowed out on work-release to teach drivers’ education.

Stevens says that if he can’t find new instructors elsewhere, he’ll be forced to decide between the following: canceling the Pennsylvania Drivers’ Education Program or allowing college students to teach drivers’ ed as a summer job. He’s not sure what’s worse.

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