“A small price to pay” | New Senate bill requires parents to attend teen driving lessons

A mother defends the bill after her son died in a car crash in York County in 2019.

YORK COUNTY, Virginia – A new bill underway in the Virginia Senate would require parents to attend driving lessons for their teenagers.

A mother who lost her son in a car crash in York County is advocating for the legislation.

In October 2019, 16-year-old Conner Guido was one of three teens at Tabb High School who died in a car crash on their prom night.

Since then, her mother Tammy Gweedo McGee has worked to make the roads safer for teenage drivers.

“No one wants to go through what I’ve been through. Losing a child is obviously the worst thing that can happen to you, ”McGee said.

“After losing my son, I felt like I really had two choices: I could either lie down and pick him up, or get up and do something to help other parents and other teens. “

McGee is advocating for a bill that would require parents to spend at least an hour and a half taking driver training with their child.

McGee said 90 minutes was “a small price to pay” for keeping children and others safe.

“This bill only requires 90 minutes of parents’ time,” McGee said. “I don’t think it’s asking too much for their involvement and the education of their teenagers for driver safety.”

the parental participation is already required for a number of school divisions in Virginia.

McGee said that taking the program statewide goes a long way in encouraging safe driving practices among teens.

“Statistics show that thanks to this course, crashes involving teenage drivers aged 15 to 20 are reduced,” McGee said.

The bill is currently before the Senate Committee on Education and Health. McGee said she wanted everyone to contact her representatives to support the bill.

“We want voters to reach out to their representatives in the House of Delegates, to reach out to their senators, to support this bill,” McGee said.

“It’s very personal because no one should have to go through what I’ve been through.”

McGee helped pass “Conner’s Law” last year. It requires any student holding a high school parking pass to have a valid driver’s license.

McGee said it’s crucial for parents to support their teens and help them learn what to do – and what not to do – behind the wheel.

Norman D. Briggs