Youth Forward Scholarship 2019 – Preventing the Preventable: How to Improve Driver’s Education

Name: Hannah Jones
From: Pullman, WA
Grade: High School Senior (currently a College Freshman)
School: Washington State University
Votes: 47

Hannah
Jones

Youth
Forward Scholarship

Topic:
In the Driver’s Seat

February
22, 2019

Preventing
the Preventable: How to Improve Driver’s Education

There
are numerous factors to consider with driving: using the blinker,
checking mirrors, maintaining safe following distance. All of these
demands become ten times more complicated when accounting for the
stress often accompanying students from school, music on the radio,
and the rings of text from a cell-phone. Looking at this, it’s no
wonder teens are the highest number of individuals involved in car
accidents. Despite all the distractions, there is aspect of life that
has proved time and time again to be a saving grace: education.
Knowledge can both keep people out of trouble and prevent trouble
completely.

One
issue I believe to be instrumental in car accident deaths is the age
in which teenagers are allowed behind the wheel. Biologically, the
pre-frontal cortex, the section of the brain responsible for
judgement and decision-making, is the last area of the brain to fully
develop. Due to its underdevelopment, teenagers are characterized by
the tendency to underestimate risk and overestimate reward. This
becomes a habit of danger when it comes to a task as complicated as
driving. In South Carolina, teenagers can obtain their licenses as
early as fifteen and a half years old. However, in Virginia, teens
cannot acquire their licenses until they are at least sixteen and
three months old. A quick search of car crashes by state shows that
South Carolina has a significantly higher rate of car-related deaths
than Virginia does. Allowing teens to reach an age of maturation can
alleviate some of the worries of putting young people behind the car
by letting them reach an age where they might make better decisions,
even if it is only a couple months later.

Another
current issue in the topic of Driver’s Education is the diversity
of course content and implementation. In South Carolina, driver’s
education is brought upon by an individual basis. Teens have to seek
out different driving schools to teach them the fundamentals of
driving. This can be slightly detrimental since different teachers
can explain the same topic in various ways. While some professors may
make a complex topic like driving easy to understand, some simply
expound upon the bare minimum needed to pass the test. In South
Carolina, the minimum education required to obtain a license is one
class-like orientation and at least three separate driving classes.
Yet, in Virginia, driver’s education is introduced in the
public-school system as students are required to take Driver’s
Education their sophomore year of high school. This method of
education provides more appropriate knowledge, allowing for more time
to learn the all-inclusive aspects of driving, rather than making
what the students might learn dependent on who’s teaching the
course.

In
creating an atmosphere of safer roads, not only will administering a
solid foundation and adequate learning time create sophisticated
drivers, it will also create more teachers. The more people who gain
safer driving knowledge, the more people who can do their part to
spread and advocate an education that produces less lives lost and
more lives saved.


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