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Teen Drivers Ed

    "Driving tests are intended to ensure that people using public roadways have a minimum level of competence and are aware of safe driving practices and road law."

    Source: Driver License Testing of Young Novice Drivers, NHTSA, February 2011

    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 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 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.

    "Approximately 8 percent of all licensed drivers involved in fatal crashes are between 15 and 18 years old, and motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for this age group."

    Source: A Fresh Look at Driver Education in America (PDF, 670 KB), NHTSA, April 2012

    What Can I Do to Keep My Teen Driver Safe on the Road?
    Get Involved
    • 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. Go to The Driving School Association of The America's driving school index for more information on professional driving schools in your state.

    Fact Sheets for Novice Drivers
    • Alcohol and Driving (PDF, 266 KB) - In 2014 one out of five (20%) passenger vehicle teen (15-19) drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes were drinking (.01+ BAC) at the time of the crash.
    • Blindzone Glare Elimination (PDF, 408 KB) - With enhanced mirror settings, you can avoid turning and looking into the blindzones. All that’s required is a glance outside the mirror to see if a car is there.
    • Driver Distractions (PDF, 408 KB) - Although any distraction while driving has the potential to cause a crash, some are particularly hazardous to young drivers under 20.
    • Efficient Steering Techniques (PDF, 686K B) - Crash statistics indicate that driver errors involving steering techniques are the main causes of crashes where drivers run off the road.  Teens are more likely to overcompensate when their vehicle drops off the shoulder than older drivers.
    • Proper Seat Belt Use (PDF, 313 KB) - In 2014, 53 percent of all 15- to 19-year-old occupants killed in passenger vehicles were not wearing their seat belts.
    • Risk Management (PDF, 266 KB)- Low-risk drivers are those who identify potential hazards, reduce risk by adjusting their speed or position, and communicate their intentions to others.
    • Visual Search/Perception (PDF, 409 KB) - Scanning helps you anticipate having to change speed or roadway position because of problems ahead, such as vehicles or people that may be in the roadway or signs warning of problems ahead.
    • Work/Construction Zones (PDF, 256 KB) - When approaching a work zone watch for cones, barrels, signs, large vehicles, or workers in bright colored vests to warn you and direct you where to go.