Changing the Image of Driver Education

Let me ask you a few questions: Is it possible for driver education to teach drivers how to stay out of crashes? If so, what should the training consist of? As I wrote in my last blog, “driver education is the only formal opportunity a person has to learn how to acquire habits that act as safeguards against the millions upon millions of ways that crashes can and do occur.” Traditionally, driver education is seen only as a path to driver licensing. How can we make it a training process for drivers to cultivate crash-reducing habits that will last a lifetime?

If driver education was effective in guiding the habit development of teen drivers, we would see fewer crashes from adult drivers. Each year in the United States there are approximately 11,000,000 crashes, and over 90 percent of those crashes –– some ten million –– are the result of the wrongful actions of adult drivers. Driver education needs to step up and assume a greater responsibility for insisting that each teen exiting driver education has demonstrated the ability to process every traffic situation, and has acquired skills to find, solve, and control the critical seconds that all too frequently result in crashes (see my previous posting about “critical seconds”).

All Drivers, Not Only Teens, Get into Crashes
Analysis of top causes of motor vehicle crashes, not only for teen drivers but for all drivers includes: 1. Inadequate visual search, 2. Lack of attention, 3. Too fast for conditions, 4. Inadequate following distance, and 5. Failure to detect hazards in a timely manner. Drivers need to be trained for where to search, what to search for, how to manage speed, how to control separation space from the vehicle ahead, and how to detect critical seconds that deteriorate into hazards with adequate lead time to defuse the potential danger. With effective training, all of these causes can be eliminated. The fact is, the root cause of all crashes is drivers’ failure to manage space! The majority of teen crashes are caused by the same space management errors that cause “experienced” drivers to crash. They can be avoided!

NIDB’s Driver Awareness Training Model
NIDB has developed a mobile-ready e-learning training program that can be incorporated into any driver education course. Why not replace lectures and powerpoint presentations with dynamic, interactive, behind-the-wheel activities? Much like operating a driving simulator –– without the expense of simulators –– teens are able to cultivate space-management habits one situation at a time. The NIDB model for driver education programs provides a simulator for the mind, where teens are able to get thousands of experiences by doing mental activities, not by listening to lectures or watching movies.

All of the learning is “experiential” where the teens learn by doing what they need to learn. We have hundreds of “challenges” that provides the framework for teens to experience one action at a time and be able to practice the action into habit.

Click this link to experience the Zone Control Awareness e-Coach.

Click for Level 1 Awareness

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1 thought on “Changing the Image of Driver Education

  1. Mr. Mottola, I represent the Association of Driver Rehab Specialists Newsletter. We very much enjoy your blogs and wondered if you might be interested in providing a submission for our Summer edition. I look forward to hearing from you!

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