Audit: Georgia not spending money on driver's education

ATLANTA — More than $30 million in traffic fees collected for driver’s education courses across Georgia in the last few years hasn’t been spent on helping teens learn how to drive, according to a state audit released Wednesday.

Since 2009, state lawmakers haven’t appropriated any money to the Georgia Driver’s Education Commission even though a special fee for the programs tacked on to traffic tickets has brought in about $10 million per year, the audit found. Of the $57 million collected since Joshua’s Law took effect in 2005, just $8 million has gone to driver’s education, which led to at least three high schools shutting down their programs, the audit found.

The money, instead, is being spent to plug state budget deficits.

‘‘It tells me the governor and the appropriations committee are putting other items ahead of saving these young and tender lives,’’ said Alan Brown, a Cartersville resident who worked to get the law named after his 16-year-old son, Joshua, passed after the teen died in a wreck in 2003. ‘‘It’s really disheartening.’’