The Iowa Department of Transportation said it had “strong concerns” after seeing video of an Open Road Driving School instructor during an apparent driving lesson.
In a video sent to TV9, an Iowa City instructor encourages a learner driver to break driving laws to overtake another car, in an attempt to confront another driver.
In a statement to TV9, the driving school’s ownership said in part that the issue was “promptly addressed and resolved”. However, after seeing two videos posted to a public Facebook account, Iowa DOT officials said it, along with the Board of Educational Examiners, would investigate.
“We have reviewed the content of both videos posted to Facebook and are very concerned about what we saw in them,” said Melissa Spiegel, Motor Vehicle Division Director for the Iowa DOT. “We will investigate in coordination with the Board of Educational Examiners.”
The instructor encourages a learner driver to overtake another car.
“Go faster, go faster, we’ll get right next to him,” the instructor says in the video.
The student then runs a red light following the car in front of him.
“Go, go, go go, then get behind them, left lane,” the instructor said.
Then seconds later, the instructor confronts the driver of the other car.
“What kind of person knocks down a car with driver? said the instructor. “A student learning to drive. For real ?
“Learn to stay in your own lane,” the driver replied.
“There’s this giant thing in the back that says ‘learner driver,'” the instructor said as the two stopped at a red light. “But no, you’re a real big man picking on a 14-year-old kid.”
The property with Open Road Driving School declined TV9’s interview request and did not identify the instructor in the video.
A driving instructor who also saw the videos said it taught bad habits and set a bad example.
“I really don’t like to see this kind of education going on,” said Ron Bandy, a freelance driver training instructor in the Iowa City area. Bandy also sits on the board of the Iowa Association of Safety Education. “I don’t like to see that. I don’t think too many people do that. When you engage in that kind of behavior, you put a lot of people at risk.”
Bandy says that’s all the more reason to teach and practice good driving habits, saying he has his own standards for teaching future drivers.
“I had better expectations than to witness this,” Bandy said. “I was disappointed and hope this can be fixed.”
Jenny Turner, owner of Open Road Driving School, sent the following statement to TV9:
“We are aware of the two incidents that occurred last week. Both issues were promptly addressed and resolved. What happened is unacceptable and goes against who we are as an organization as a whole. Each year over 6,000 hours are conducted with our students and we have worked hard to develop a positive reputation in the communities we serve.