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Local driving instructor explains teen driving laws

Posted at 10:27 PM, Mar 01, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - — A local driving instructor is explaining Nebraska's teen driving laws following a fatal crash in which a 14-year-old crash into a motorcycle.

"You have to drive like everybody's drunk and everybody's on their cell phone, never assume that that other driver is going to do what they're supposed to do," Cornhusker Driving Instructor Sharee Venditte said.

It's a message she teaches her students at the Cornhusker Driving School.

Venditte tells 3 News Now she was saddened to learn about the most recent fatal crash involving a 14-year-old.

"Every single time that we hear that a teenager was involved in an accident I mean your heart just aches immediately and you want to know was it one of your students because you feel ownership on those students that you've taught on the roadway," Venditte said.

Following the crash, many on social media questioned if a 14-year-old could legally drive.

"I'll be honest with you, I think practice and road time probably trumps age for me," Venditte said.

She tells 3 News Now, every student is different, but she recommends parents practice with them as much as possible.

"I think it's important for parents to start driving with their teens so they can develop comfort and things like perception of really being able to gauge that distance with how far cars are away from you," Venditte said. "Do you have enough time to turn in front of them, [and] drivers education is important because we teach students a lot of stuff that parents don't think about."

In Nebraska, students can obtain their learner's permit as early as 14.

"If it's a population of less than 5,000 where they live or where their school is located they can get a school permit to drive to and from school," Venditte said.

An adult 21 or older must also be in the car with the student for at least 2 months before they can drive on their own.

Venditte also adds, the rule applies to students whose neighborhoods aren't annexed by the city.

"They have their learners permit, a school learner's permit (SLP) for two months and they would practice during that time," she said.

Venditte tells 3 News Now she teaches students the importance of safe driving and understanding driving laws.

"Driving fast and driving recklessly, it doesn't get you anywhere faster," she said. "You're going to get to the same place but it puts you at so much higher risk when you drive like that."

Police are still investigating the crash as Venditte, who's worked with many student drivers, says she feels for all of the people impacted.

"It breaks my heart for that 14-year-old because you know ... I don't know the circumstances of that accident last night but they have to live with that for the rest of their life," Venditte said.