Driver Ed Teaches Road Rules and Safe Driving – Isn’t That Enough?
Teens don’t get into crashes because they are uninformed about the basic rules of the road or safe driving practices; rather, studies show they’re involved in crashes as a result of inexperience and risk-taking.
Young drivers – particularly 16- and 17-year-olds – have high fatal crash rates because of limited driving experience and immaturity that 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 (PDF 870.31 KB) when driving with a teenage peer versus driving alone. The likelihood increased to three times when traveling with multiple passengers.
Driver Ed Classes Can’t Teach Your Kids Everything
Historically, it was thought that effective driver education and training would reduce high crash rates of novice drivers 15 to 18 years old. But many studies of driver education (PDF 848.33 KB) have failed to show a decrease in crash rates among teen drivers who have participated in driver education programs.
A more comprehensive program – the graduated driver licensing (GDL) system – gives novice drivers experience under adult scrutiny and protection by gradually introducing more risky driving conditions. In fact, multiple studies report GDL systems reduce the number of 16- and 17-year-old-driver crashes.
But the learning doesn’t stop there. As a parent, it’s essential that you step up and take a proactive role in keeping your teens alive and injury-free.
What Can I Do to Keep My Teen Driver Safe on the Road?
Share important driving tips in these fact sheets for novice drivers with your teenager.
Set ground rules and consequences for your teen driver, and get it in writing.
Know and understand your State’s GDL laws. Start with this GDL primer for parents
Be a role model – practice safe driving habits every time you drive.
Explore Driving School Options
Ask the right questions using this checklist for choosing a driver training provider (PDF 109.22) from The Driving School Association of The Americas, Inc.
Starts at Home
|Setting Ground Rules
for Your Teen Driver