For a lot of teenagers, getting a driver’s license when they turn 17 or even 18 has become much more common. And recent studies show they have a few reasons to put off getting their license:
- Dealing with the demands of high school and homework
- Fewer school-based programs that support drivers education, and
- Lacking the funds to pay high gas prices and car insurance premiums
Plus, some teens just don’t see the importance of getting a license at 16 anymore—even if they have the means to do it. And by delaying the quest to obtain their license, it’s become a lot easier to opt out of teenage drivers ed altogether. One study even found that more than 1 in 5 U.S. teens never took drivers education before getting their licenses. Are there risks that come with this kind of non-action? The data is still unclear.
Though driver’s license requirements deal more with passing a written exam and an actual driving test behind the wheel, the education teens may need in order to pass these tests is not required by every state. Research even suggests that teens who didn’t take drivers ed but still got their licenses aren’t necessarily making our roads any less safe. And, whether more states decide to support drivers education programs by funding them in their schools and whether that will result in fewer crashes is also still up for debate.
It’s important to note that the basic curriculum for driver’s education programs has gone relatively unchanged for more than 50 years. Improving and updating their overall course model, along with a continued effort of supervised practice driving, is a start for gaining more traction among teen drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Ultimately, it’s the focus on education that can help enlighten teens to study and become better drivers. The safe teenage driver is one who has all the tools they need at their disposal. And better driver’s education is the key to safer roads and a more informed mindset while in the driver’s seat.