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California - I continue to wonder why the U.S. public really does not care about the large number of teen drivers involved in car crashes. Additionally, there is virtually no understanding of the impact of good drivers education on teen driving. To frame the case, here are a few statistics from 2009 provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  • - Eight teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.
  • - About 3,000 teens in the United States aged 15-19 were killed.
  • - More than 350,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes.

Given the above statistics, it is obvious that preparing young drivers better is a piece of the puzzle along with graduated licensing programs enforced in many states. However, it appears that the public either does not understand the significance of these numbers or just does not care. My belief is that people see the situation as a terrible thing but my son will not be a statistic. The other person's daughter will be involved in a car crash and my daughter has a very small chance of that happening to her.

It all starts with a good foundation and that is what drivers education is all about. It amazes me that so many people do not understand the importance of this item.

One of the issues is that in the U.S. historically drivers education was taught in public schools by untrained teachers. This created a framework for the public to discount drivers education over the years as having no value. Lately, due to a variety of factors in most public schools no longer offer drivers ed. Public schools have never been the proper place for this type of instruction and now private driving schools have emerged that take drivers education very seriously.

The first 6 months of driving, in particular, are very dangerous for a new driver. The driving "programs" that were instilled during drivers education must be reinforced and practiced often. If a good driving school was chosen, parents should armed with information and the ability to coach their teen through this dangerous first year.

Here are a few tips to help your teen survive their first year of driving:

  1. Pay particular attention to the graduated license laws in your state - they have been proven to be effective and should be followed closely.
  2. Having a focus on driving during the novice phase is particularly important.
  3. Managing vision properly is important for all drivers. And novices need to pay close attention to this area.

Bottom line is that driving a vehicle is a very difficult task to learn. Add to that the fact that teens have a lot going on in their lives and this compounds the difficulty of learning to drive. Lastly, please realize that your teen can be a statistic and please take the process of drivers education.

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