"We're on the cusp of a renaissance of driver's education here in this country," says Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
High school driver's ed was nearly universal 30 years ago. Today it is offered in only a fraction of schools in standard curriculum. About 15% of eligible students take high school driver's ed compared with 95% in the 1970s, says Allen Robinson, CEO of the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, which represents about 50,000 public and private driver's ed teachers.
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Today, most states require 16-year-olds to take a driver's ed course in school or a commercial program before getting their license. That's one reason more than half of all 16-year-olds wait until they're 17, Robinson says.
More driver training could help reduce the more than 3,000 deaths a year of teen drivers, says Robert Foss, director of the Center for the Study of Young Drivers at the University of North Carolina.
Developments in driver's ed's resurgence:
• The number of high school driver's ed programs in Georgia has increased 22% to 150 since the state required that any 16-year-old seeking a driver's license after Jan. 1, 2007, complete a state-approved driver's ed course.• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has questioned the effectiveness of driver's ed since a landmark 1983 study, now supports new guidelines calling for more classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel training.• Parents in several states who lost teen drivers in crashes are pushing to restore or improve driver's ed. Penney Gentile of Cooperstown, N.Y., lost her son, Chris, 18, in a 2007 crash. "Driver's ed would have been helpful to him," she says.• Texas enacted a law Sept. 1 requiring police investigating crashes involving new drivers to determine whether they took driver's ed in a public or commercial school or learned from their parents.• Some cities are looking for new ways to pay for driver's ed. Chattanooga, Tenn., plans to use revenue from traffic camera fines to fund a pilot program, says spokesman Richard Beeland.The push for driver's ed comes even as the number of 15- to 20-year-old drivers killed in crashes annually fell 5% to 3,174 from 1997 to 2007.Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, says driver's ed is "not effective in reducing crashes. It's a lot to expect that a relatively limited amount of time with a teen could have a big effect on their risk-taking behavior."
Rachel Gannon was charged with manslaughter and assault after sending text messages just before crashing her car into a car driven by Loretta Larimer. Larimer's granddaughter was seriously injured in the crash.
Gannon had been given a sentence that allowed her to hold a job and continue to go to school. She was essentially under house arrest while not at her school or workplace.
But prosecutors said Gannon moved out of her house, quit her job and threw a party that included alcohol while her parents were out of town. A judge has resentenced her to serve a one-year jail sentence on the assault charge.
Gannon, a high school senior, will still be allowed to attend school. Officials said that she will report to jail every night for a year. Prosecutors said the manslaughter charge will be revisited later this year and Gannon could get even more jail time.
Sacrifice a young, immature, thoughtless girl for killing a 72 year old woman allegedly because she was TEXTING and not paying enough attention? And you want to throw the BOOK at her? As opposed to listening to the music, eating a hamburger, talking on the cellphone, or glancing at a cute boy on the sidewalk, or telling a kid in the back seat to behave, or changing the radio station?? THIS IS because we didn't TEACH HER WELL!
I hope your kid gets nailed for driving while immature, and spends HIS life in prison too when the horrible happens...Throw the book at him! VENGEANCE IS MINE, SAYETH THE LORD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. Punishment for life!
This is a TRAINING ISSUE in America. Where did Drivers ED go in schools? Too expensive, taxpayers? What a short-sighted idea!!
BRING BACK high school DRIVERS ED....we boomers were SUCH better drivers because we ALL TOOK drivers education at SCHOOL, where it should be taught. Full semester of drivers ed, with practicum on the road, films, rules of the road. TESTS. Our schooling was, somehow, so much better back in the DAY. Why is that?
Ya can tell today's adult DRIVERS were trained by amateur parents! And set loose by parents, even if they aren't READY!
And we wonder why America's kids have been dumbed down in so many ways by America's Public Schools! Go to the school and ask the principal.
He knows and he might actually TELL YOU.
Speaking of schools, here's Jon Stewart having more than just a LITTLE fun with Fox News about the Starving Kansas Children forced to eat healthy food by big government's Michelle Obama.
VIDEO LINK to Mediite...