Getting your driver’s license just doesn’t carry the same prestige among adolescents as it once did. Smartphones and social media keep teens connected in a way that used to require a license and begging your parents to borrow the car on Friday night.
Conversely, driving is a necessity for some teens, particularly those living in rural areas with long commutes to school and work. But making the transition from having mom or dad in the passenger seat to independently getting yourself to and from your obligations can be somewhat intimidating- and risky.
Luckily, graduated licensing systems and driver’s education courses help ease young drivers through this rite of passage.
A study conducted by the Nebraska Prevention Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, followed 150 teens over eight years to determine the impact of driver’s education courses on their overall driving records.
The researchers concluded that driver’s education courses dramatically reduced the number of crashes and traffic violations for new drivers. In fact, inexperienced drivers are 75 percent more likely to receive a traffic ticket without taking driver’s education. In addition, they are 16 percent more likely to be involved in an accident and 24 percent more likely to be in an accident involving injuries or fatalities.
A little more than half of the drivers involved in the study qualified for their permits by enrolling in a state-approved driver’s education course, the remainder logged 50 practice hours under adult supervision.
Additionally, the study found that 11.1 percent of those who successfully completed driver’s education courses were involved in a car accident, compared to 12.9 percent of those who did not take any courses.
Of those who participated in driver’s education classes, only 10.4 percent were cited for moving traffic violations, while 18.3 on non-attendees received citations.
Teens who completed driver education programs not only scored higher on their driving test, but also demonstrated a more comprehensive long-term knowledge than their peers who did not participate in driver’s education classes.
Unfortunately, car accidents continue to be the number one cause of death for teens. Yet, despite the statistical proof that driver’s education courses are effective, fewer new drivers are participating. The facts are in, however, and the life that is saved could be your child’s.
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