CLATSOP COUNTY — Instructor Pamela Cromwell has opened Freedom Driver Education, which will begin driving courses for local teens ages 15 to 17 on July 23.

Cromwell teaches such concepts as perceptual development, the physics of driving and zone control, building upon basics such as managing turns and other maneuvers, understanding traffic laws and being prepared for emergencies.

Cromwell is certified by the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles and approved by the state Department of Transportation to teach the teen driver course. Students get at least 30 hours of classroom instruction and 12 hours behind the wheel.  With the courts, the state requires parents to provide only 50 hours of supervised driving practice, instead of 100, and students can skip the driving portion of the DMV test.

“Parents are always surprised by what their kids don’t know or can’t do well, like simply stopping or making a right-hand turn,” Cromwell said in a release. “And then they realize they’re having difficulty explaining to their child how to do it right. Then there’s frustration, maybe arguing … it can be stressful. That’s one reason it’s really helpful to have a program to follow that takes you and your teenager through a comprehensive training, from basics to the skills and habits that reduce your risk of a car crash.”

In 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,333 teens in the United States ages 16 to 19 were killed in crashes, or six per day. Part of that is due to high-risk behaviors such as texting, speeding and drinking, along with being unable to see, recognize, judge and respond to hazards.

“Studies are divided as to whether or not driver education makes teens safer, but I think it’s better to educate teens and let them make their own choices than it is to leave them vulnerable to mistakes they don’t even know they’re making,” Cromwell said.

There are subsidies available from the state, as well as discounts for low-income families. For more information, visit or call 503-744-7555.

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