Column drove home a good point

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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.


Shannon Ryan

St. John’s



Organizations: Newfoundland Safety Council, Carbonear Railroad Station

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Ontario, Vanguard Carbonear

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Recent comments

  • Ron Tizzard
    March 11, 2013 - 08:34

    A good education is a significant, manditory, opportunisitic hand-up road to a good, positive life for those who respect the 'offer'. Don't clutter that piece of sine-qua-non i.e. a good education, by introducing 'distractions'....Driver education is a personal question of 'option', albeit a convenience. DO NOT DOWNGRADE OR CLUTTER A GOOD URGENTLY NECESSARY PROGRAM I.E. A GOOD EDUCATION WITH A CONVENIENCE YOU CAN EASILY WALK TO WHERE YOU HAVE TO GO, OR FIND AN ALTERNATE FORM OF TRANSPORTATION...A PERSONALLY SATISFYING LIFE (ONE WITH CHOICES), FOR MOST, RELIES TOTALLY ON A GOOD-EDUCATION.

  • Recent Graduate
    March 09, 2013 - 19:18

    Highschool programs are already so cluttered that the last thing we need is yet another required course to keep gifted students from pursuing advanced academic courses (As the current setup prevents them from doing) I'd sooner pay out of pocket for driver education.