Posts Tagged ‘driver education’

Erin SteppAAA Foundation research reveals opportunities to produce smarter, safer drivers

Washington, D.C., (September 9, 2014) – Although vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens, fewer new drivers are participating in what used to be considered a rite of passage – driver education.  State funding and requirements for these programs have declined over recent decades, leaving uneducated teen drivers vulnerable on America’s roads. New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that teens that skip this important step are involved in more crashes and receive more traffic convictions compared to their peers that participated in driver education.

Additional Resources

  • AAA Foundation: Large Scale Evaluation of
    Beginner Driver Education Programs – Fact Sheet

“This research confirms what conventional wisdom tells us – driver education makes a difference,” said Dr. William Van Tassel, AAA manager of Driver Training Programs. “Despite recent declines in participation, the overwhelming majority of Americans believe new drivers should take part in this critical step of the learning-to-drive process.”

This study assessed examples of U.S. and Canadian driver education programs using a variety of evaluation methods including surveys, driver’s licensing tests, driver simulators and the review of driving records. The results revealed that several key differences exist between teens who receive driver education and those who do not, including:

  • Driver education is associated with a lower incidence of both crashes and convictions – reducing crashes by 4.3 percent and convictions by nearly 40 percent.
  • Teens that completed driver education not only scored higher on the driving exam, they also demonstrated modest increases in knowledge over their peers who did not take any formal training.

“Overall, the findings suggest that driver education can make a difference, but there is still much room for improvement in most existing programs,” noted Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “This underscores the need for states to adopt the NHTSA-supported Standards that are designed to enhance the scope and quality of driver education.”

AAA, a vocal advocate for teen driver safety for nearly 80 years, works at the state level to improve driver education programs and prioritizes five of the NHTSA-funded Novice Teen Driver Education and Training Administrative Standards, owned by the driver education community:

  1. Requiring a teen’s parent/guardian to attend an educational seminar
  2. Ensuring that classroom instruction is completed in no less than 30 days
  3. Requiring annual continuing education for driving instructors
  4. Ensuring standards are met by public and private driving schools
  5. Adopting a comprehensive graduated drivers licensing (GDL) system that integrates driver education

AAA and the AAA Foundation are committed to helping teens stay safe on the roads and have developed comprehensive resources including TeenDriving.AAA.com, a state-specific website to help parents navigate the learning-to-drive process, DriversZed, an interactive tool designed to teach teens how to react in various driving scenarios and the StartSmart Online Parent Session, a two-hour webinar that explains the licensing process and parents’ role, and demonstrates how to maximize the practice driving that parents/guardians are required to do with their teen.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 200 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them, and minimize injuries when they do occur.  Visit http://www.aaafoundation.org/ for more information on this and other research.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

With traffic crashes the leading cause of death for teens, making sure new drivers have a foundation in basic driving skills is critical to success behind the wheel

ORLANDO, Fla., (May 17, 2012) – With the summer months ahead and many teens looking to complete their driver’s education courses, AAA offers advice, resources and tips on selecting a quality driving school to help provide a solid foundation of driving skills for your teen.

With new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety highlighting the steep fatality risks teen drivers face when they transport young passengers, it’s critical that parents be fully engaged in their teen’s process of learning to drive. AAA recommends the use of a qualified, professional driving instructor, which is a requirement to receive a license in some states.

“Quality driving instruction provides the foundation needed for safe driving practices. Instructors ensure their students have the basic skills, knowledge and habits needed for safety on the road,” said Dr. Bill Van Tassel, manager, AAA Driver Training Programs. “Using a third-party instructor also can eliminate some of the added stress and emotion that can occur between parents and teens and allow a calmer focus on learning to drive safely.”

However, not all driving schools are the same. To help parents identify the best driving school for their teen, AAA offers the following checklist:

Ask Friends and Neighbors. Seek recommendations and ask why they selected a particular driving school.

Call and Visit Several Schools. Ask to see classrooms and to observe part of a course. Classrooms should be clean, orderly and set up to conduct classroom sessions. Check that there is a desk for each student in the class with a clear view of any visual displays.

Ensure Classroom and Behind-the-Wheel Sessions are Integrated. An ideal course integrates classroom and behind-the-wheel training. Classroom time should consist of a structured lesson plan that includes coverage of risk prevention and the fundamentals of defensive driving practices. Behind-the-wheel sessions should correspond with the classroom lesson plan to reinforce and demonstrate the practical usage of the concepts. Beginners learn best with two in-car lessons each week. Driving environments should include residential streets, city traffic, rural roads, highways and limited-access freeways.

Check References and Complaints. Check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints against the school. Ask for references of previous students and parents that can be called about their experiences with the school.

When searching for a driving school, parents can also consider AAA-affiliated schools. Any school that displays the AAA logo has been thoroughly reviewed and maintains a high level of standards.

Detailed tips about driving schools, as well as a driving school evaluation checklist, are available for free in AAA’s Choosing a Driving School brochure, which is available to download online from AAA’s Keys2Drive website.

Even with the use of a quality driving school, parental involvement is essential for teens to learn safe driving habits. AAA offers a wide variety of resources to guide parents through the process of their teens learning how to drive through its teen driver safety website—TeenDriving.AAA.com. The interactive site provides parents and teens with specific information based on where they live and where they are in the learning process—from preparing to drive (pre-permit) through the learner’s permit and solo driving.  Some highlighted features of the website include:

The StartSmart Newsletter helps families get through the crucial period when teens are learning to drive. A series of electronic newsletters and webisodes helps you identify the challenges you and your teen will face and how to work as a team to reduce risk.

Parent-Teen Driving Agreement – AAA suggests signing an agreement to help set realistic expectations and establish boundaries for teen drivers.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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