NewsRegionHoward County


Teaching teens rules of the road virtually

Posted at 6:46 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 23:25:20-04

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — For teens looking forward to hitting the road—coronavirus has pumped the brakes on their adventures.

The classroom would usually be filled with students learning the ins and outs of driving at Street Smarts Driving Academy in Ellicott City.

For students like Mia Kim that means she can’t get her license in time for summer adventures.

“Instead of depending on my sister and my parents, I could take myself to the fair or my friends house or something like that,” said Mia.

To get your license in Maryland you have to do 30 hours of in-class learning spread out over ten segments— and 6 hours of driving with an instructor.

Street Smarts Owner Chip Sheehan was once the driver for some big name celebrities before switching his focus to reaching hundreds of young students.

Now, he and his company are learning how to teach the hundreds of students without seeing them.

“In a normal scenario we would do the classroom and the students would within 18 weeks get their behind the wheels” Sheehan said. “Now with that being suspended we are going to have a backlog of behind the wheel lessons.”

Teaching kids how to safely operate has become more of a passion than a job for Kevin Johnson.

He’s adapting to teaching in an empty classroom but misses the kids.

“I like being in close proximity to my students so I can see their reactions and see if they are paying attention,” Johnson said. “The things I have to say are life important and I miss that a lot.”

They are hoping they are able to get back into the cars with students to continue helping them get their licenses.

“I understand you still could get infected but it is one on one,” Officer Manager Sandy Kim said. “We do clean our vehicles before each student before all this happened anyway.”

MVA has suspended deadlines for when students have to complete driving hours after completing the coursework.

To sign up to get your 30 hours of online learning done through Street Smarts click here.