A new study finds young people who don’t take driver’s education courses are more likely to be involved in collisions and they’re much more likely to get ticketed and be found guilty of traffic law violations.
Gail Weinholzer, spokeswoman for AAA-Nebraska, says vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teenagers, both in Nebraska and nationwide.
“Children under the age of 18 who do not participate in a driver’s education class are more likely, not only to be in crashes, but to receive convictions,” Weinholzer says. “We’ve got 30 states across the country that require driver’s education in some form and 20 states that do not.”
Nebraska is among the states where driver’s ed is -not- required. Some school districts offer it as a regular course, while other districts direct students to use a private, professional driver’s training company.
“They still have to pass a knowledge test and a behind-the-wheel test but how they acquire that information, that knowledge, that skill base is entirely up to the family,” Weinholzer says. “They can certainly choose to put their child through a driver education course or perhaps parents do it themselves.”
The motor club report found students who took driver’s education courses saw a reduction in crashes by 4.3% and a drop in convictions by nearly 40%. It also found that teens who completed driver’s ed scored higher on the driving exam and demonstrated better knowledge over their peers who had no formal training.