Business

911 Driving School comes to Marysville

Peter Barrett, left, and Ronnie Johnstone will be joining fellow Arlington Police Officer Seth Kinney (not pictured) in opening the Marysville branch of the 911 Driving School this May. - Kirk Boxleitner
Peter Barrett, left, and Ronnie Johnstone will be joining fellow Arlington Police Officer Seth Kinney (not pictured) in opening the Marysville branch of the 911 Driving School this May.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — After years of witnessing the aftermath of poor driving decisions, three Arlington Police Officers have decided to try and instill good driving habits into young drivers from the start.

Peter Barrett, Ronnie Johnstone and Seth Kinney plan to open the Marysville branch of the 911 Driving School by this May, but their journey toward their new business began two years ago when Kinney first suggested that they get certified as driving instructors.

“It was a long process, but we’re excited by this opportunity,” Barrett said. “We’re in a unique position to teach kids about driving since we’ve had thousands of hours of training. We’ve learned how to operate vehicles safely under strenuous circumstances on a daily basis and we know the traffic laws because we enforce them.”

Barrett believes that the officers’ students can benefit from their real-life accounts of what can go wrong, from injuries to deaths, when drivers fail to obey the laws or follow what they’re taught. He also noted that, as police officers, they have an advantage in anticipating new laws for which they can prepare their students.

“When laws change, we’re the first ones who are up to speed,” Barrett said. “If something’s coming down the pipe six months from now, we can keep that in mind in our lessons.”

Barrett likewise cited the passion that he and his fellow officers have for passing on their knowledge.

“We’ve had all this training invested in us and we want to give it back,” Barrett said. “We want to prevent collisions. We all live around here too.”

“We have a vested interest in stopping avoidable accidents,” Johnstone said.

According to Johnstone, the Marysville branch of the 911 Driving School is ideally located to serve Arlington, Lakewood and Stanwood as well.

“It’s a good area for driver training,” Barrett said. “There’s residential neighborhoods, a nearby freeway, busy intersections and railroad crossings. You can experience a lot of different aspects of driving.”

Rick McNeek, corporate director of marketing for the 911 Driving School, praised the commitment of police officers, but for Barrett it’s simply a matter that hits close to home.

“Most accidents are due to driver error,” Barrett said. “If we can do this, we’ll not only make you safer, but we’ll be safer and so will our families.”

The Marysville branch of the 911 Driving School is not yet open, but it’s located in Suite D at 11603 State Ave.

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