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Dave & Dujanovic: Should parents OK their child’s driver’s license?

Images of gold stars on driver's licenses, (Photo credit TSA)

SALT LAKE CITY — Since 16-year-olds are unable to be certified by a driving instructor due to the coronavirus pandemic, a Utah state senator is proposing allowing parents to give the green light for their kids to obtain a drivers license. 

Teens in Georgia can now earn their driver’s license without having to take the required road test, which has been waived by the state government during the pandemic. 

Georgia teens, between 16 and 18 who have a learner’s permit, can be awarded a driver’s license if there are no violations and by completing 40 hours of driver training by either an instructor or a parent, according to CBS News

Republican state Sen. Dan McCay of Riverton is floating the idea of letting parents pass/fail their kids on the state driving test.

However, is this a good idea?

Let’s ask a professional

Driver’s education instructor and Davis High School, coach Ben Horne, joined Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega to give his take on the topic.

“Do you think it’s a bad idea to have parents certify kids with the pandemic going on?” Debbie asked.

“I absolutely don’t think that’s a good idea,” Horne stated firmly.

Teens younger than 18 have to complete 40 hours of driving, 10 at nights, certified by a parent or guardian, according to Utah law.

“For the things we [driving instructors] look for, the maneuvers, the instructions, the experience that we can give to them, I just don’t see — even though they have their 40 hours — they [parents] don’t know what they need to be testing them on.

“We all love our kids. There’s no question about it, but there’s got to be some bias in there,” Horne said.  “We try to go non-bias as we’re testing these kids.”

“Our goal is to get them their license,” he said. “I am not sold on letting a parent trying to test their own child.”

“I have kids that will run stop signs, and again, the bias that we have with our kids… ‘Oh, honey, that was a four-way [stop] so it’s really not as dangerous as a two-way.

“I hate failing kids. But when they run a stop sign, it’s pretty cut and dry. They understand that ‘Hey, I can’t be running these because in real life I could be killed,'” Horne said.

He said allowing parents to certify their teenage drivers is “opening a can of worms.”

“What’s the toughest thing for kids to learn behind the wheel?” Debbie asked.

Parallel parking, he said, because it involves so many maneuvers: signaling, angling the vehicle backward without hitting another object, checking for traffic approaching from the rear while backing up, etc.

Dave pointed out that newly licensed teen drivers are still terrible because they need experience behind the wheel.

“There’s a temptation to get our kids out there because they’re driving us nuts,” Dave said. “This is not where we start making their lives easier, not when it comes to our safety.”


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play