Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


By CVN Staff 

Five student drivers learn in Juneau


October 27, 2011

Five Haines High School students recently participated in a driver’s education course offered through Juneau’s Southeast Regional Resource Center and three became licensed drivers.

The state-funded education agency paid for the two days of classes, including per diem, housing, and travel for students, said Leigh Horner, who organized the effort. Horner last year pushed to revive the school’s driver’s education program, but concerns were raised about the cost of a two-braked vehicle necessary for road instruction.

Horner said the recent course will lower her daughter’s auto insurance rate and also taught her how to drive. "There’s no law that says you have to take this class, but it lowers your insurance, the kids get an awesome road test in Juneau and if you had your (learner’s) permit for six months, you could walk away with your provisional license."

Rosemary Martin, a 16-year-old junior, said the class was worth it. It was much easier and a lot less stressful than trying to learn to drive from a friend or family member, she said. "I feel a lot more knowledgeable. I hope everybody else gets to do it."

High points included driving a new Subaru Forester and learning all the roads in Juneau, she said.

Horner said she’s hoping to arrange another session for Haines students in February or April. "The (Haines) school may have to pay in the future for housing and transportation."

Lisa Corcoran of SERRC said 121 students from 13 communities and six school districts have participated in the program, offered by the agency for the first time this year. Forty-five students received behind-the-wheel instruction.

"In a lot of these small communities, there’s no major roadways. They get that experience in Juneau, including merging, changing lanes and roundabouts, stuff they’d never get to experience at home," Corcoran said.

Funding came through the state Department of Labor and the federal Department of Highway Safety, she said. Students completing the course typically see insurance rates reduced by 10 percent. "It’s a pretty exciting program. We want to continue it."

Students taking the course included Martin, Elena Horner, Sierra Lari, Logan Simpson and Russell Clark.