ATLANTA (AP) _ Millions of dollars raised in the two years since Georgia lawmakers made driver's education mandatory for teens seeking a license have not been spent, and there still is not a statewide driver's education course.
Desperate for driver's education classes for their teens, parents are paying hundreds of dollars to private companies.
The state law, called Joshua's Law for 17 year old Joshua Brown of Cartersville, who died in a 2003 car crash, requires 16 year olds applying for a Class D license to complete a state approved driver education course that includes 30 hours in the classroom and 40 hours behind the wheel.
The law also authorized a five percent surcharge tacked on to traffic violations to start up a statewide driver's education program in public schools. So far, the state has raised $11.9 million dollars from the surcharge, but the Georgia Driver's Education Commission has requested just $2.7 million dollars, and the rest of the money has gone back to the state's general fund and cannot be tapped again.
Robert Dallas, vice chairman of the commission, said a statewide driver's education program takes time to develop. He cited other initiatives by the commission, including the development of an online course that costs 45 dollars to 100 dollars that fulfills the classroom requirement of the law.
The commission also spent $900,000 dollars buying computers dedicated solely to the online course for public libraries.