'This is a major issue. We need to teach safety to our kids,' local groups team up to provide students in need with free drivers education courses

Simmons Driving School and Indiana State University are teaming up to help students in need learn the rules of the road. They've applied for a $25,000 grant to give scholarships to help students who may not be able to get that training otherwise.

Posted: Jun 5, 2019 5:13 PM
Updated: Jun 5, 2019 6:49 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- Two local groups are teaming up to help students in need learn the rules of the road.

Simmons driving school is pairing up with Indiana State University to provide scholarships to kids in need.

It's a way to get students behind the wheel who may not be able to get that training otherwise.

Right now in Indiana, you do not have to take formal drivers ed with an instructor.

You just have to complete 50 hours behind the wheel to get your license.

Tricia Pierce of Terre Haute is trying to change that.

LINK | Teen Drivers and Parents information from the BMV

She's applied for a $25,000 grant from State Farm to help more than 40 students in need take drivers ed courses for free.

Pierce hopes it will help keep everyone safe on the roadways.

For most, turning 16 and getting your drivers license is a rite of passage.

Unfortunately, not everyone gets the full experience behind the wheel with a driving instructor to prepare them.

"Why do we have so many problems on the roadways? Maybe it's because the people behind the wheel never got formal education," said Pierce.

Tricia Pierce works at Indiana State University.

She said she knows first hand what it's like to lose someone in a car accident.

She hopes this program will help others from feeling the same.

"I myself have already lost one student that I was teaching. I've already lost one student's sibling due to poor driving skills. This is a major issue," said Pierce.

Pierce said these scholarships will help ensure students in need are getting that education to keep everyone safe.

"Kids need to know that they are driving an extremely dangerous piece of metal very fast down the roadways of Indiana. We have a lot of country roads. We have a lot of trains. We have a lot of semis," said Pierce.

Not only will this help keep everyone safe on the roads, but it can also help students long after they get their license.

"Training them. Getting them a drivers license. Getting them the ability to be independent. Getting the ability to be responsible, this is changing the future," said Pierce.

Pierce is waiting to see if Vigo County has been selected for the grant.

We will find out on August 5th.

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