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National car shortage putting the breaks on LPPS drivers ed

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LIVINGSTON PARISH – Teens are having a hard time learning how to drive this summer in Livingston Parish. The effects of a national car shortage has trickled down to the drivers education industry.

Usually, Livingston Parish Public Schools offers drivers ed courses during the summer, but recently had to cancel those courses for a couple of months.

“I had about 60 calls in about two hours,” said Denise Callahan, the owner of Livingston Driving Academy in Watson.

Callahan said her phone rang off the hook the day the school system told parents about the cancellation. Many teens were trying to get into her classes last minute.

“I did add an extra class just for those students, but we booked up within about a week,” said Callahan.

Callahan had to turn some of those teens and their parents away.

“They were very upset because now their child that is 17 that could have had their drivers license to start school in August won't be able to get their license,” said Callahan.

School officials say the national car shortage caused the cancellation. A statement was released stating:

“Livingston Parish Public Schools has canceled its summer driver’s education program because of a shortage of available cars for the program. This district each year leases specially equipped dual control cars from local car dealerships for the program; however, due to a shortage of inventory for local dealerships, enough cars to fully meet the program’s demand were not available at this time. The district does have the capacity to complete the driving requirements for the courses that began during the spring break period. The district is planning to offer classes in the fall if the required cars are available.”

The shortage is increasing Callahan’s, and many other private businesses’ workload.

"It's 40 students a class and now we're having a fourth class that's 160 students that need to get driven,” said Callahan. “That’s a lot.”

The educator is confident, though, she’ll get all of the teens driving at the end of the summer.

Experts say a lack of microchips needed to manufacture cars is what's causing the shortage.

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