Dan Black has been on the passenger side of a car while teenagers learn how to drive, and he has lived to tell about it.
Actually being in a car with aspiring drivers is the favorite part of his job at A Driving School, which recently relocated from the One Stop Shopping Center, in Camas to downtown Camas.
“People say I should wear a helmet and I’m crazy,” Black said. “Both of those are probably true. I have a brake on my side, and I can grab the steering wheel.
“The biggest thing you need is patience,” he added. “Students a lot of times have not paid a whole lot of attention [to others’ driving], because they have computer games and things that are different than when I grew up.”
Black said some parents ride along with the students and instructor.
“That helps them to know what we are teaching their student and how they can help in their teaching process,” he said.
Black, manager of the Camas location of A Driving School, said most of the students are teenagers, but sometimes adults need some time to practice driving to prepare for the Department of Motor Vehicles test.
The cost for a teenager to take the course is $295, which includes 30 hours of classroom instruction, six hours of drive time and one hour of observing another student behind the wheel. The classroom instruction includes topics such as parallel parking, right and left turns, freeway driving, insurance and buying a car. In all, there are 14 lessons and a final test.
Adults pay $35 per lesson, which involves one hour of driving.
“We also work with people who have had their licenses taken away,” Black said. “We work with them to help them get their license back — people who have had a stroke or something like that.”
A Driving School has been in business for 12 years, with locations now also in Salmon Creek, Vancouver and Yakima. The company is owned by Steven Kulin, of Vancouver.
Black, 52, has a bachelor’s degree in education, with an endorsement in traffic safety and reading, from Central Washington University, in Ellensburg. In addition to previously teaching drivers education at Washougal and Stevenson high schools, he taught history, math, science, music, art and physical education to fourth- and fifth- graders at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School.
“There are very few school districts that have drivers ed programs,” Black said. “There have been budget cuts. The state used to subsidize it, but they don’t anymore.”
Black, a father of five daughters and a son, lives in Stevenson. He has twice lived in Washougal, while his wife Bea — a 1978 WHS graduate — is from the Cape Horn area.
Daryl Moore, another instructor at the Camas location, is a former drivers license examiner with the Washington State Department of Motor Vehicles. He is also a former prison guard with the Washington State Department of Corrections.
For more information about A Driving School, call 936-7311. Class schedules are available online at www.Adrivingschool.org.