Letter: Driver education in SC needs improvement – Greenville News

 Motor vehicle crashes remain the No. 1 cause of teenage deaths. Teens are 10 times more likely to be in a fatal car crash than adults — and most of fatal teen crashes occur within six months after a teen driver obtains a license.

Twenty-five percent of 16-year-old drivers are involved in a car crash the first year of driving, according to GEICO. Do you care?

If you care, demand better driver and traffic safety education for South Carolina.

1. Legislators need to reinstate the proviso, so driver education is again offered in all high schools.

2) More teacher preparation is needed for commercial instructors. (It is possible now to become certified without a college course). High school teachers must complete 12 semester hours of college driver and traffic safety education courses.

3)  We need to raise the minimum age to take driver education/driver training from the current 15- and 16-year-olds to 17- and 18-year-olds. Georgia is currently working to increase its age to 17. Half of teenagers do not take a driver education/driver training course.

4. There’s a need to have the commercial school requirement of eight hours of classroom instruction not be done in one day. The high school classroom requirement is 30 hours of classroom instruction. (It usually takes six weeks).

The National Transportation Safety Board, US Department of Transportation’s special study “Youth and Traffic Safety Education” way back in July 1971 stated, “Given the present-day situation in the United States and the high fatality rate of the young, it seems clear that some kind of preparation for driving in today’s traffic is necessary.” Things have not gotten better.

As then Gov. Jimmy Carter stated on Oct. 7, 1976, (Traffic safety education) . . . “efforts in highway safety matters should be multiplied, particularly with regard to education. Driver education in the public schools is an important element of our educational system, and it is through safety education that we can ensure that we have highways free of unnecessary dangers.”

I hope that we all care. And if we do care, let us insist on having high-school and commercial driver training improvements.

Joe Sabbadino