I have written about the new standards and requirements for driving schools to test students for both the written and skills tests for the past several months. In this issue I want to address why having standards and stringent requirements is important and necessary. Car crashes are the #1 killer of young people. The number of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 killed in car crashes far surpass any other age group and the number of injury producing crashes for this age group is mind boggling. Yet parents continue to put their children on the roadway unprepared because they “passed the test.” The “test” is really no indication that an individual is “really prepared” to be on the roadways.
We recently ran a permit prep class at a local high school and when we asked the students whether they have looked at the driver license manual, their response was “no, we heard it’s just common knowledge.” There is a 50% fail rate for the written test at the MVD because of this attitude. The test isn’t rocket science, but it IS important that a new driver know the rules of the road. However, that is only the first step. Often new drivers are involved in car crashes within the first or second month of being licensed.
Teaching and preparing a novice driver whether they are 15 ½ or 35 years old takes time and patience, there are really no shortcuts. It takes a combination of good instruction and practice. There is so much more to driving than the ability to move a vehicle. There are a multitude of objectives and benchmarks that must be met and that is why having curriculum standards and requirements for training are so important.
It is fast and easy to teach someone how to pass the test at the MVD. Teaching someone to be safe, responsible, know the rules, and to respect the road, takes time and there is no accelerating the process. One skill set that parents often don’t even think about or consider is the ability to make a decision and judgment in a matter of moments. That is one of the most important skills that need to be developed. Think about the mental process required to judge a left turn in a busy intersection or a lane change on a busy interchange or surface street. There is so much more to driving than “the basics” and unfortunately too many young people are on the street with even less than basics.
Curriculum standards hold us accountable to meet minimum requirements. DrivingMBA has been meeting and exceeding national standards for years and we are delighted that ADOT has recognized the need to develop better rules and regulations for professional driving schools. The 30-10 requirement; 30 hours of classroom and a minimum of 10 hours of on-road instruction is a good start. While DrivingMBA is not a proponent of “talk-at” classroom, our simulation labs are interactive, hands-on classrooms where students are learning by doing.