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LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG: Chicago Schools Seek to Keep On-The-Road Pre-License Requirement for New Drivers Low!

THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG! 

Buddy Actually Sleeps, While Staying Awake!

My humans snapped this picture of me last week, while we were visiting some close friends up near St Paul MN.   It conclusively proves that we dogs can be asleep, while at the same time remaining completely awake!

Being a small-ish dog, however, you know I have to work hard to be a careful driver!  Sometimes it's tough enough reaching the pedals and the steering wheel at the same time, let alone developing the skill and judgment needed for driving defensively.

We all know, as with any acquired skill - practice, practice, practice increases skill level.

Rules in IL that apply to dogs legally operating a motor vehicle are fairly liberal, but my Human Dad, Team Leader Dean, made sure I had plenty of time behind the wheel before he even let me THINK of going for my license!

Now, however, the Chicago Public Schools is seeking to join the ranks of many Suburban Chicago School Districts in seeking an exemption to a new state law requiring public schools statewide to provide at least six hours of actual on-the-road driving in their Driver's Education Programs.

To this point, CPS has exploited a legal loophole to offer as few as one hour, forty minutes of on the road training in preparation for a new Driver's License. 

Last August, when IL Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the Driver Reform Bill into law, most applauded the new rules.  They were aimed at reducing vehicle crashes, especially among new teenaged drivers, low on driving experience. 

The Bill tripled the time a teenaged driver must have a Learner's Permit before they can get their actual Driver's License.  It also imposed night driving restrictions on teens, and maximized the number of teen occupants in a vehicle being driven by a teenager.

But IL Public School Districts, short on budget statewide, rebuffed the idea of the six-hour on-the-road rule - saying it was not necessary, and too expensive to implement.  Proposed funding to subsidize the cost of a statewide six-hour minimum never materialized. 

This led to nineteen school districts statewide - including the suburbs of Aurora and Crystal Lake, around Chicago, among others, to seek an exemption to the rule.  These communities were successful in obtaining a five-year waiver.

Most of the Driver Reform Bill became law last January 1st.  The six-hour rule, however, went into effect last week, on July 1st.  On June 25th, the Chicago Board of Education approved and submitted their request for an exemption to the rule.

"We're looking for a change in the training hours, not solely because of financial reasons," said Chicago Public Schools Spokesperson Mike Vaughn.  "We think, in a lot of cases, that it's a bad idea to place new drivers directly out in traffic without training on simulators or driving ranges."

The school system is asking to train the estimated 19,000 public and private-school driver's education students with four hours of teacher-supervised, behind-the-wheel street driving, one hour of simulators and one hour of range driving, in addition to the 30 hours of classroom work, Vaughn said.

The State Board of Education will submit the request to the legislature by October 1st, Spokesman Matt Vanover said. The legislature must act on the request in 60 days from the time it convenes after receiving the waiver request.

If lawmakers fail to act in that time, the exemption is automatically granted.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, whose office administers driver's rules and regulations, and issues Driver's Licenses, feels not requiring six-hours on the road for teen drivers will seriously weaken the spirit of the legislation, and make IL roads more dangerous.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Spokesperson Beth Kaufman said White was "disappointed" that Chicago Public Schools is seeking a waiver. She added that he will try to overturn the waivers given to the 19 schools—and any that may be granted to Chicago schools—in the fall legislative session.

"The vast majority of schools" in Illinois have accepted the six-hour rule, Kaufman said. If legislators authorize the city exemption request, it would take effect in the fall of 2009, Vaughn said.

As a dog, I'm all for Driver's Safety - especially on those super-busy Chicago Expressways many of us - two-pawed and four-pawed - have to grapple with every day.  In my opinion - take those kids out on the road as much as you can, Driver's Ed instructors!

Read Ted Gregory's article in today's Chicago Tribune for more info.

YOUR ACE REPORTER ON FOUR PAWS,

BUDDY HOLLY MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2008 9:20 PM by Dean's Team
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