Save Our Teen Drivers

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

Tennessee deaths increase after graduated driving laws

Posted by lapearce on June 23, 2009

Winding rural roads, low seatbelt use, and no drivers ed blamed for Tennessees teen crash rate

Winding rural roads, low seatbelt use, and no driver's ed blamed for Tennessee's teen crash rate

Tennessee passed graduated driving laws that restrict the hours teens can drive and the passengers they can have eight years ago. Regardless of this law, Tennessee is still the sixth deadliest state for new drivers, what’s more, Tennessee’s deadliest year for new drivers came in 2002, a year after the law was passed, when deaths jumped from 87 to 106.

Kendell Poole of the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration knows what the problem is: Tennessee has no requirement for driver’s ed. “If we had mandatory driver education, we would be able to reduce teen fatalities across the state.” She said.

Tennessee officials say that the state is probably dangerous due to the lack of required driver’s ed, poor seatbelt use among teens, and text messaging. They also point to the twisty rural roads as probably increasing teen deaths, which I agree with. Teens statistically are the worse at factoring speed and turning for curves and it is a common place for crashes involving new drivers.

Irwin Goldzweig, an assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville agrees that the answer is driver’s training: “It is like kindergarten — you have to have it because it provides the basic essentials.” He also points out that Florida, another state that doesn’t mandate driver’s education, is also very dangerous for new drivers.

I can’t believe any state out there allows teens to get a license without teaching them how to drive. It would be like teaching a kid how to play football by giving him a rulebook. Anyone who has played sports or have a child in sports knows that this isn’t the way to do it. Practice is the way to teach a child how to play sports.

Most pre-season sport camps set up to prepare new players for the game spend far more than 50 hours teaching children how to play with drills and practice games. I’ve asked driving students of mine who excelled in sports how long they thought it took before they would call themselves good at the sport they played. The typical answer is years.

Years spent learning how to do something that may pay for college or maybe, just maybe lead to a career. But driving is something that people do every day. It is the most dangerous thing for a teen to do and they are literally risking their lives every time they get behind the wheel. Yet we let them do this without any training?

We have lost our minds, and the death rate of Tennessee makes this obvious.

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One Response to “Tennessee deaths increase after graduated driving laws”

  1. […] Tennessee deaths increase after graduated driving laws […]

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