I read with interest and complete agreement Susan Flanagan’s recent
column, “Driver training should be taught in schools” (March 5), and it reminded me of the effort made in the spring/summer 1963, to introduce this to the Newfoundland curriculum.
That spring, the Newfoundland Safety Council offered to put off a program in St. John’s after regular summer school for people (mostly teachers) who wanted to become qualified teachers of driver education. Successful applicants for the program were offered funding ($30 for people within St. John’s and $110 for applicants coming from out of town).
I applied and was accepted. I cannot remember the names of those involved but I know that Ches Pippy Jr. was
heavily committed to the enterprise. And the Safety Council brought in
a specialist from Ontario to teach
the course. I also recall a retired (or retiring) police officer taking the course to better prepare himself to start his own driving school, which he later did.
However, it did not catch on; but I used the topic ‘”Priorities in Education: Driver Education” as the topic for my major paper at the Ed 400 level in 1963-64, completed under Prof. Phil Warren.
I agree with Ms. Flanagan that it was something that was needed then and more so now, because getting one’s driving licence is so expensive and complicated.
As an aside: my father and I bought a small Vanguard in the winter of 1962-63 and I had my licence within two weeks. I taught my father to drive by sitting with him on the way to the Carbonear Railroad Station at seven o’clock in the morning and home again at 5 o’clock in the evening.
Teaching an older, big and muscular railroad section man with very limited patience to drive a small car with a standard shift and a brutally quick clutch at 7 in the morning on the highway between Riverhead and Carbonear is something you only do once in your life.
I certainly support Ms. Flanagan’s efforts to bring this topic to the attention of the public.