Calgary, AB -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/01/2014 -- Summer is the busy season at Cascade Driving School in Olympia, and things are right on cue as 15, 16 and 17-year-old students come and go on the hour for a driver’s test, written test or are off to take a lesson.
And that’s something relatively new for Cascade, which won a contract in 2012 to offer the road and written tests for those trying to secure a driver’s license.
The state Department of Licensing still does testing, but only for highly specialized cases, owner Mike Jackson said, such as those who have been ordered to take the test again after a traffic citation or more serious driving infraction.
Jackson, 63, used to teach traffic safety and GED classes at area public schools, then decided to launch a driving school as a part-time business. It soon became full-time work and he left teaching.
For the past 20 years, the business has been a fixture on Fourth Avenue, across from what is now The Martin Way Diner. He opened an office in Yelm in 2007.
It’s been steady as she goes for Cascade over the years, but that hasn’t always been the case for driver’s education.
Driver’s education was once a staple of public education, with 350 public school programs statewide compared to 40 driving schools in about 2001, Jackson said. Years later public school programs faded away and the private school took over, reversing those earlier numbers. Half of those private driving schools are in King County, he said.
Cascade is one of two driving schools in Thurston County.
A lifetime spent teaching driving has produced its share of interesting moments.
Some of Jackson’s favorites:
- He was on hand when twin brothers, both of whom were born without arms, took the road and written tests and passed. They moved the driver’s seat all the way back and then put one foot on the wheel while the other foot pushed the pedals. They also took the written test with their feet, leading Jackson to peer at this reporter’s notebook. “They had better ‘handwriting’ than you do.”
- Jackson, who served in the Marines and Marine Corps Reserves for 31 years, once taught a 15-year-old girl how to drive, except the amount of sass and know-it-all attitude she dished out left him feeling like he was the student and she was the teacher. Finally, he called her mother for advice and she replied, “Oh, yes, I know exactly what you’re talking about.”
- He also once taught an older gentleman who was in 80s and needed a refresher course on driving. Unfortunately, he had a habit of stopping in the middle of intersections before deciding which way to turn.
One might think that teaching teens how to drive all these years would be a headache, but young people learn quickly, Jackson said. The challenge, he said, is teaching adults, who, for whatever reason, never learned to drive. Adults simply are not as adept, he said.
“The older you get, the harder it becomes,” Jackson said.
Think you could pass the driver’s test today?
Here’s the DOL-approved test at Cascade: right and left turns; stopping; parallel parking; backing around a corner; uphill or downhill parking and yielding to right of way.
The most common mistakes: failure to come to a complete stop, failure to use turning signals, and failure to yield to right of way.
Calgary, AB -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/21/2014 -- Driving schools seem to be confused as to what they should be doing following the recent three-point turn on the new driving licence curriculum by the Transport Ministry and Road Transport Department (RTD).
They are wondering whether to stop operations or continue as usual.
A poll of four driving institutes, two in Selangor and two in Kuala Lumpur, on the Transport Ministry’s list, revealed four different responses to the issue.
One driving institute in Kuala Lumpur told The Rakyat Post that all their classes and new registrations were on hold until after Hari Raya as they were waiting for the RTD’s final decision.
Another driving institute confidently responded that registration was still open, classes were still ongoing and quoted RM1,600 as the price to apply for a class D (car) licence.
In Selangor, one driving school quoted RM1,000 to apply for the same licence but added that the price might go up to between RM1,500 and RM1,700 after Hari Raya, depending on whether a registered student started the classes before or after the new curriculum was implemented.
The last driving school queried quoted RM1,138 for the same licence, but was more frank when asked what would happen if a new curriculum was implemented after a student was registered.
“I’m not sure if you will have to follow the new procedures or the old procedures. I have no answer for you on that,” said the staff member.
A report last week stated that fees for driving classes would increase due to a new curriculum being implemented on Aug 1.
However, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai yesterday announced that the new curriculum had been put on hold for further study by the RTD, especially on the cost factor.
He had said considerable research and work had already been done on the curriculum to improve road safety.
However, he said he had asked RTD to undertake further studies to review the curriculum and its costs to the public.
This followed public uproar that the driving schools may double their fees in view of the changes to the curriculum by the ministry.
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