Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - If you encounter a car full of high school students driving around Missoula early some weekday morning, you’ll know that Driver Education is alive and well through the Missoula County Public Schools.

KGVO News reached out to MCPS Interim Superintendent Russ Lodge for details on the very popular, and difficult to get into, Traffic Education Program.

Drivers Training is Alive and Well, and Very Popular

“It's alive and well in Missoula,” said Superintendent Lodge. “It's not part of the school day anymore. It takes place outside the school day. So kids drive before school and after school and kids drive in the summer. We run about four sessions per year with about 24 to 30 kids per session that fills up very quickly. By the time the year is over, we probably had 175 kids go through the program.”

Lodge said the demand far outstrips the supply of instructors for the students lucky enough to get into the first-come first-served program.

The Cost is About $340 Per Student Driver

“We could do more,” he said. “We've always got a waiting list that fills up quickly. The hard part is getting people (instructors) trained. Right now the only place you can get training is in Havre at MSU Northern. So that's been a difficult part to try and get more driver instructors involved so we could teach more kids. But with what we have, we're doing well. It's about $340 per student that a parent would pay typically for the student to get driver's training.”

Lodge provided more details about the MCPS Driver Education Program.

“They (the student drivers) get six hours of time behind the wheel, and then there's another 25 classroom contact days where they get 45 to 50 hours of instruction in a classroom,” he said. “So you can see between that and then getting every kid six hours, then you're going to be using up every moment before school and weekends and trying to get all your time in so you can get it done.”

Click the Link Below to Sign up Your Student Driver

Lodge said speed is definitely a factor; not in driving, but in signing up when the program is open.

“It's moved outside of the school day but it's still very prevalent in Missoula,” he said. “If you want to get your kid signed up though you’ve got to be ready because it'll fill up in a half hour It's all four seasons and it's going on right now, so it doesn't matter what time of year it is we are running a ‘driver's ed’ program.”

Get more details about the MCPS Traffic Education Program by clicking here.

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To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

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