Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

Can you teach a teen to drive with a box?

Posted by lapearce on June 22, 2009

With the internet, tv and other innovated communication media it seems like more and more education is going digital. Need to know how to sell stuff on ebay? Buy a CD. Need to learn a language? Do it online. Need to learn how to drive? Buy Driver’s Ed in a Box. But is it good enough?

The program Driver’s Ed in a Box comes with:

  • 15 videos
  • six-part audio series
  • textbook
  • student workbook
  • parent companion
  • training mirrors

The program is designed to: “work together to guide parent and student as you work together to build the skills and habits needed to become a collision-free driver. “

It is broken up in pieces: part one is for before the teen drives, part two teaches “collision-free driving” and part three goes into drug, alcohol, etc. It comes with a check list for parents to keep track of their teen’s education, and materials for the parent to act as driving instruction.

I commend what they are trying to do here, they realize that the current system is problem, they realize that in-car driving is the solution, but is putting the program on DVDs and having the parent be the instructor the answer? The program claims that it focuses on in-car driving more than classroom driving. But their own preview video shows poor habits, such as crossing hands on the steering wheel.

The program is meant to satisfy state driver’s ed requirements, and is a lot like homeschooling your child. A lot of what is said in the program’s preview video is true too, the understand a lot of what is wrong with the system and want to help your child avoid crashes. The success of this program is on the parents and the teens to follow through: to dedicate themselves to watching 15 videos, to do all of the activities, etc. At least with a Driver’s Ed class the child is forced to go and learn, what is to stop them from stopping midway with the home program and just pretending like they finished?

The video is designed to show teens, instead of tell them, what habits are good and bad behind the wheel. I’m just not sure if they can be done anywhere else than on a closed course with a professional instructor, however.  It is obvious that no matter how many times we tell teens speeding is bad, or cell phones are dangerous that they’ll defy us. But put them in a car and have them try to handle a high-speed turn, or drive distracted (in a controlled environment, of course) and suddenly, instead of eye-rolling teens you have wide-eyed teens, and statements such as, “I am never talking on my phone again”.

On the other side of the coin, however, parental involvement is the difference between life and death for many teen drivers, and most state licensed Driver’s Ed programs simply fall short in instructing your child how to drive. Most of them focus more on passing the test than how to be safe drivers, and that is just abysmal. I don’t want to talk this program down too much, because I think it has potential, and I do not doubt that it could in fact be better than other driver’s ed options out there. It’s just up to the parent and the teen to make the most of it, and other options available to them, such as supplementary in-car education through car control clinics.

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One Response to “Can you teach a teen to drive with a box?”

  1. safedriver said

    If this was a good thing, how did I stay a driving instructor for over 21 years??

    Scott

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