Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This summer, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles approved its first online Advanced Driver Improvement course. It's a 12-hour class required for Florida drivers who have temporarily lost their driving privileges because of excessive points, habitual traffic offenses or court order. The online course, first offered by the American Safety Council and now Traffic School Success, can be taken at home and meets the same standards set by the state for in- person instruction. It helps drivers identify their problem-driving behaviors, understand the issues in their lives that are causing these behaviors and develop a plan to fix them and avoid future difficulties.
"Bringing this course online has a number of advantages," says Jeff Pairan, senior vice president at the American Safety Council. "It is convenient and accessible for single mothers and physically challenged and economically disadvantaged students. It also negates the chance that students would be driving to the classroom with suspended licenses."
The innovative technology used by ASC creates a series of driving scenarios students may encounter and asks them to identify the correct behavior through short-answer essays and multiple-choice questions. The technology prevents students from cutting and pasting answers into forms and instantly rejects answers with inappropriate remarks. After participants submit an answer, they can look at approved responses from their peers who have completed the class.
Pairan says the 12-hour course is easier to retain in shorter increments. Students can log on and off as many times as needed to complete it. They can also get their certificate of completion and license back much faster than would be the case in an actual classroom setting.