Future of online defensive driving class uncertain after Metro Council meeting

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The threat of a lawsuit against the City of Baton Rouge kept some East Baton Rouge Metro Council members from voting for an online driving course.

If you get a speeding ticket and don't want it going on your record, right now, you have to go downtown to city court.

If you haven't had any moving violations in a three year span, you are given the opportunity to plead guilty and take a driving course. That way it is not reported to your insurance company.

"I was hoping to allow them to broaden the program," said Donald Luther, who is with Angelwood Driving Academy. It's a local Baton Rouge company.

Luther has been providing the driving course for city court for nearly 30 years. Now, he's trying to save people time by providing a driving course online instead of physically taking the class so he took his idea to the Parish Attorney Mary Roper.

"We currently do not have an online driving school. This was something we were trying to get geared up," said Roper.

The idea was presented to the East Baton Rouge Metro Council with Roper suggesting Cyber Active, a nationwide company not based out of Louisiana. She claims they're better because they would only pocket $15 where Angelwood would take in $75, but that reason did not sit well with some council members.

"Was there any consideration regarding people that are already currently doing this job?" asked Trae Welch.

"That was something that was not considered necessary to do this program that they already have a program in place in Baton Rouge," said Roper.

"Mr. Luther feels like you jabbed him in the back with a dagger," said Denise Marcelle.

"We're talking too much money for me to just hand it over to him just because he brought the idea to us," said Roper.

The board voted six different times to try to try and pass any motion, defer, reject or approve, but all six failed.

"Disappointing," said Roper.

"I'm disheartened. Like I said I've been here 29 years and this was an idea I brought to them," said Luther.

Four companies, including Angelwood, were fighting to win the three-year contract. Roper said the online courses would benefit about 25,000 people, but the item ended up dying for now.

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