Police officers to teach drivers ed at Kamiak

By Sara Bruestle | Apr 10, 2013
Photo by: Sara Bruestle Clay Monson and Jeff Caldwell of the Alderwood Mall 911 Driving School are now offering drivers ed classes at Kamiak High School at a discount. The first five-week course starts April 17.

Starting next week, Mukilteo teens will get the opportunity to learn how to drive from a police officer.

The 911 Driving School will now be offered after school at Kamiak High School at a 60 percent discount.

The drivers ed class is instructed exclusively by active or retired police officers. The instructors know the law, investigate collisions and can share firsthand experiences during class.

“No one knows traffic laws better than police officers,” said Clay Monson, owner of the Alderwood Mall 911 Driving School. “We see a lot of poor driving decisions that end up in a collision or ticket situation. It’s like we’re tailor-made to teach traffic safety to teenagers.”

The first five-week course will be from 3:15-5:15 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting April 17 at Kamiak High School, at 10801 Harbour Pointe Blvd. in Mukilteo.

Students will receive 34 hours of classroom time and five hours of driving time with an instructor/police officer for $399 (regular price is $695).

Two police officers in Pierce County started 911 Driving Schools in 2005 because they figured they could do a better job of teaching teenagers how to drive. Who better to teach teens how to drive than police officers? They thought.

After seven years, statistics show that students who pass the 911 Driving School have better driving habits than those who take other drivers ed classes.

According to Washington State Department of Licensing data, students who passed 911 Driving School had 1/3 fewer citations, 1/4 fewer accidents and 1/3 fewer drivers license suspensions than students who attended other classes.

“It’s your most important life skill,” said Monson, who is also the watch commander for the Seattle Police Department. “Each year, over 40,000 Americans are killed on the roads in car accidents, so it’s extremely important you learn properly the first time.”

Monson said a class at Kamiak will allow the 911 Driving School instructor/police officers the opportunity to reach out to more teens and teach them how to drive. It’s both closer and more convenient for students to go to drivers ed at their school, he said.

“I want to teach as many kids as possible,” Monson said. “I think the best thing going is a police officer teaching a kid how to drive.”

Teaching the class will be Jeff Caldwell, a retired Seattle police officer.

“Police officers, with all of our experience in driving and investigation of accidents and enforcing traffic laws, have a much better knowledge and experience base to teach young people to drive, the risks and responsibilities of driving, and the consequences of bad decisions,” Caldwell said.

“It just makes sense that police officers teaching young impressionable students how to drive is absolutely the best way to do it.”

Caldwell said police officers not only have the credibility to get messages through to teens about the importance of driving safe, they have a vested interest – a passion – in teaching teen drivers to be great drivers.

“There are less expensive traffic safety schools available, however, you get what you pay for,” Monson said. “When young lives are at stake, leave nothing to chance.”

Anyone 15 or older may sign up for the class. This offer is not exclusive to Kamiak students. New classes will be available about every three months.

Register before class starts by phone at 425-771-0911 or online at www.911drivingschool.com, or show up to the class and register there. Don’t call Kamiak.

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