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    Categories: EducationOpinionWeekly Columns

How Education Could Lower the Crash Rate Among Young Drivers.

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(ThyBlackMan.comAutomobile accidents remain one of the most preventable yet deadly occurrences in day-to-day society. In the United States alone, nearly 40,000 people will die in automobile accidents every single year; globally, that number is more than 1 million. This makes car crashes one of the biggest causes of death not related to health, and just barely misses the Top 10 list of causes of death.

Among young drivers, however, auto crashes are the biggest cause of death. A disproportionate number of younger drivers – inexperienced with the ways of the road – will suffer death or injuries this year…but can this problem be fixed?

We’ll talk about how driver education could actually reduce the severity of this problem and save thousands of lives every year.

What the Evidence Shows

Experimentation with driver education as a force for reducing crashes and accidents has been ongoing for decades. Over the past twenty years, most states have moved to reduce the freedom young drivers have in their first years of driving with graduated licensing laws. This has meant everything from learner’s licenses to restrictions on who can be in the car. Additionally, driver’s tests designed to restrict access to the road, along with some in-school driver education classes, have also been implemented.

What has been the result? Ultimately, the rate of teenage accidents behind the wheel has declined by a significant amount. The evidence seems clear – from government fact-sheets to personal injury attorneys‘ caseloads – that driver education and caution helps reduce the rate of fatal and non-fatal accidents alike.

One such study showed that roughly 13 percent of young drivers who did not take a driver’s education course was involved in a car crash, while only 10 percent of those who did take the course had such an experience. Ultimately, reducing crash rates by nearly one-third is a meaningful accomplishment.

How Education Can Prepare Young Drivers

There are numerous benefits that can be derived from hands-on driver education for young drivers. With so many unforeseen possibilities on the road, having prior knowledge on how to handle situations helps prevent potential accidents.

One notable example is defensive driving courses. Because younger drivers are less experienced, they are more likely to run afoul of the flow of traffic. This creates more circumstances in which younger drivers are on the receiving end of road rage. Knowing how to handle oneself in such a situation – and how to respond proactively – can make the difference between a bad accident and a safe journey home.

Another benefit is an increased understanding of the basic rules of the road. While written tests are given alongside actual driver tests in most states, these questions are basic and do not necessarily imbue the young driver with an innate understanding of traffic laws and safe driving habits. By providing additional learning opportunities, drivers are better prepared to understand dozens of unique traffic situations where accidents might otherwise occur.

The benefits of driver education courses are numerous, but reducing the overall number of fatal and non-fatal car crashes alone should be justification enough. With such training courses, new drivers will be able to become more effective stewards of the road and keep both themselves and their passengers safer in the process.

Staff Writer; Peter Jones


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