North Carolina should pay for driver’s ed

From an editorial Monday in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:

The state’s driver’s education program is required for all those who want to get their drivers’ licenses before they turn 18, the age at which they can go to the Division of Motor Vehicles and take the required tests without taking the class.

And, there have been improvements in North Carolina’s testing, with graduated privileges, etc. But now under the state Senate’s budget proposal, an unnecessarily complicated way of paying for driver’s ed would be instituted, with parents paying the full cost of driver’s ed up front – around $275 – with the option to get reimbursed if their student passes the state test for a learner’s permit on the first try. (Families now pay up to $65.)

First, the money would be prohibitive for some families who live on a thin margin. That means some students would be denied the courses unfairly. Second, this adds a bureaucratic step to driver’s ed that isn’t necessary. The state should pay the full cost for everybody, period.

This is, after all, an investment in everyone’s safety on the roads, and the state’s coffers are more flush than they’ve been in a while. This is an affordable expense the state should cover. Spending time trying to figure out a complex way of covering the cost of driver’s ed is a huge waste of time.