County employees, elected officials, required to take safe driving courses |
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Rich Cholodofsky
Officer Mike Spagnoletti of the Allegheny County Police keeps a watchful eye on a participant of a safe driving course in March 2012.

Westmoreland County employees are going to driving school.

Commissioners on Thursday hired John Rock Inc. Defensive Driving Specialists to conduct classroom and on-the-road instruction for more than 600 workers eligible to operate county vehicles.

The driver education classes are part of a motor vehicle policy approved earlier this year by commissioners in an effort to reduce the number of fender-benders and other incidents with the county’s vehicles in recent years.

“Hopefully, at the end of the day, we will be a lot safer than we are now,” Commissioner Charles Anderson said.

Public Works director Greg McCloskey said all county employees who are eligible to drive county-owned and -leased vehicles must complete the education classes.

Eligible employees required to complete the classes include sheriff’s deputies, park police force, public works crews, probation officers, children’s bureau caseworkers and even elected officials, he said.

Commissioner Gina Cerilli said she expects to complete the safe-driving class.

“I assume this will help our insurance costs,” Cerilli said.

The county operates a 161-vehicle fleet that in the last three years required more than $14,000 in repairs because of bumps, scratches and other dings.

The revamped vehicle policy originally called for employees who were involved in two accidents during one calendar year to undergo safe driving classes.

McCloskey said the revised policy calls for all eligible workers and all new employees to complete the classes.

They county will pay $2,400 for law enforcement workers to complete four classroom hours of education and four hours of hands-on training. All other workers will be required to attend two-hour classroom sessions that will cost taxpayers $300.

“This is part two of the vehicle policy. It’s important we are taking care of what is a sizeable investment,” said Commissioner Ted Kopas.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293
or [email protected]

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