Smart Start Driving School: Classroom and on-road driving training for teens and adults
By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Business name: Smart Start Driving School
Address: 415 Boston Turnpike (Rt. 9), Shrewsbury; 78 Worcester St., Grafton (opening in July)
Instructors: John Scricco, owner, and Connie Dressler
Contact Information: 508-842-3277 Shrewsbury, 508-839-5300 Grafton, www.smartstartdrivingschool.com
What is covered in Smart Start’s program?
“We offer the curriculum required by the Registry of Motor Vehicles—30 hours of classroom instruction, 12 hours of behind-the-wheel driving, six hours of observation and a two-hour class for parents,” said John Scricco, owner of the Shrewsbury driving school and an instructor.
“Students under 18 also have to have 40 hours on-road instruction with a parent, with that time documented before the road exam. The school uses its own cars, equipped with dual brakes, and students may use a school car and have an instructor as sponsor when they take the road exam. We subject our students to everything—night, rain, Kelly Square,” he said.
“We particularly do things a parent might be uncomfortable subjecting their children to. If you’re not comfortable with the highway because you don’t have a dual brake, I don’t have a problem with that,” added Connie Dressler, the school’s other instructor.
Do you teach adults as well as teens?
“We get a lot of people from other countries who need to learn how to drive. Many did not drive in their home countries,” Scricco said. “We also teach older people who drove years ago but haven’t driven much recently. Often it’s a woman whose husband did most of the driving, and now she has to drive again.”
How long has Smart Start been open?
“We started in May 2012,” said Scricco, “We’re opening a second classroom location in Grafton in July. We’re trying to go where the need is and keep the cost down for people.” Between them, Scricco and Dressler have 15 years of experience teaching new drivers.
What schedules are available?
For the classroom part, “We have a one-week class and a five-week class. You can do a six-and-a-half hour class Monday through Friday, or five Saturday classes. There are also evening classes,” Dressler said. “In a group on-road lesson, there can’t be more than four students in the vehicle at a time. There are up to 40 students in the classroom sessions.”
A complete schedule for classroom instruction, on-road training and parent classes is on the school’s website. Private lessons are available.
Smart Start serves most towns in central Massachusetts. “We will go to a student’s house or school or work, pick them up and drop them off, because often both parents work,” she said.
Do you offer advanced driving lessons?
“We can send people to In Control, which is an advanced driver’s ed course, sometimes called ‘skid school.’ They get a discount when we refer them,” said Scricco. “In Control does the class at the Worcester Airport. They wet the course and get up enough speed to hydroplane or slide. Completing that course can save money on insurance.”
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