Driver’s ed gets 21st-century update

Driver’s education for students at Georgia’s West Forsyth High School includes high-tech driving simulators, USA Today reports. The simulators–which include three computer screens that comprise the windshield, as well as a steering wheel, turn signals, foot pedals, ignition, and gear lever–assess students as they "drive" and score them at the end. For many of these students, it’s their first "behind the wheel" experience. "I think it’s a good alternative to actually driving the real thing," says Travis Keeler, 15, a 10th-grader who’s never driven. "It does a good job of preparing me to drive." His teacher, Robert Fuller, says the simulators are a critical part of his semester-long driver’s ed class, which is a half-credit elective and costs parents $100. "The simulator can’t take the place of driving, but it … enhances their driving ability," he says. Driver’s ed in the modern era doesn’t come cheaply. The simulators at West Forsyth High cost $18,000 each, says Van Flanigan, a vice president of manufacturer Virtual Driver Interactive. To parents of young drivers killed in crashes caused by their own inexperience, however, cost should not be an impediment…

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