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Reader feedback on mandatory driver training

A somewhat controversial article in January proposed that perhaps it was time for New York state to require some form of periodic driver refresher course for ALL drivers. It was controversial because it would be mandatory, come with some form of cost and require drivers’ time to take the course. I was hoping for reader feedback, and I did receive several comments.

A Malone response was positive about mandating some form of refresher training but was against forcing drivers to pay for it. That person further suggested tying this training, which would be offered online, into driver’s license renewal. The technology is there to do this, so why not take advantage of it?

Another response from someone in Clinton County suggested that this training might be from traffic safety boards or from the state Department of Motor Vehicles, sending licensed drivers updates on new vehicle and traffic laws every five years at no cost. This reader felt that any fee associated with the added training would be excessive unless drivers received a reduction in their insurance costs. The reader also offered examples of drivers who obviously didn’t know or understand things like who yields to whom at all-way stop intersections, or an oncoming driver motioning someone to make a left turn in front of them when the oncoming driver clearly has the right of way. This reader also said that the permit test required of new drivers is too easy, and that schools should bring back driver education.

Another reader from Plattsburgh chimes in with some sound advice — no online courses. That reader states that there is nothing more solid than teaching a new driver how to drive while actually in an automobile so they learn the real experience of driving. This responder continues that there has been rampant abuse by people who take the courses online by having someone else sign in for them and take the course in their name to receive a three-year discount on the car insurance while they are fraudulently not taking the course themselves.

This feedback suggests that, rather than reinvent the wheel, it would be best to suggest to Albany that it make the classroom setting for defensive-driver classes mandatory for drivers every three years to make sure they learn and understand the new regulations that are covered properly in a course approved by the DMV already. This reader states that there are multiple point and insurance reductions programs already approved and operating in the state that could easily perform the task of refresher training, including new vehicle and traffic laws that are instituted each year.

I did not receive any responses that said mandatory refresher training wasn’t a good idea. The responders all agreed we need something in place to insure that all drivers at least receive information on new laws that are introduced and could include more information on safe driving.

Many thanks to those who responded to that January article in which I introduced the concept of mandatory refresher training for all drivers. They all agreed it was overdue but differed in how to do it and who would pay the ensuing costs. Hopefully it was a thought-provoking article that gives drivers something to consider.

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