The Benefits of Driver’s Education Programs
Teen drivers are involved in vehicle crashes not because they are uninformed about the basic rules of the road or safe driving practices; rather, studies show teens are involved in crashes as a result of inexperience and risk-taking. Teen drivers, particularly 16- and 17-year-olds, have high fatal crash rates because of their immaturity and limited driving experience, which often result in high-risk behavior behind the wheel. Peer pressure is an especially potent factor. In a recent NHTSA study, teens were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in potentially risky behavior when driving with a teenage peer versus driving alone. The likelihood increased to three times when traveling with multiple passengers.
Driver’s education programs are designed to teach teen drivers the rules of the road and to help them become safe drivers so they can acquire the necessary driving skills to prepare for and pass the road driving test and, ultimately, obtain a driver’s license. Formal driver education programs exist in almost every jurisdiction in the United States. These programs generally mirror States’ specific driving requirements, which assure novice drivers are being taught information relevant to State requirements. The graduated driver licensing (GDL) system, which identifies driver education as an important component, gives novice drivers experience under adult supervision and protection by gradually introducing the novice driver to more complex driving situations. In fact, multiple studies report that GDL systems reduce the number of teen crashes. But the learning doesn’t stop there. As a parent, it’s essential that you take a proactive role in keeping your teen alive and injury-free throughout the early years of their driving education.