Save Our Teen Drivers

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

California DMV is on social media: what are they teaching your teen online?

Posted by lapearce on July 9, 2009

When I saw the tweet today from CaGovernment, the state’s official twitter, that the California DMV now has a fan page on facebook my first thought was, “who on earth is a fan of the DMV?” I think many of us would rather spend an afternoon in hell than at the DMV. But, being as the California DMV is at the top of my list or organizations that I feel need to change their approach to driver’s education, I thought I would check it out (and am now actually a fan of the CA DMV on facebook and am following them on twitter). What I saw should have been expected, but it shocked me none the less.

The last thing the DMV posted was this:

California Department of Motor Vehicles Nervous about taking the drive test? We can make learning easy! DMV’s YouTubeChannel has more than 50 video vignettes that give practical tips! Go to

We can make learning easy! Pass the driver’s test! I watched their introductory video, and true to their tag line it is all about how to pass the test. They do not focus on safe driving or how to avoid crashes, instead they focus on how to obtain a license. I was not surprised because the DMV web site has had the same focus on test taking and not driving for years.

By treating the test as the be all and end all of driving, I feel the DMV highly de-emphasizes the importance of safe driving. Instead of learning how to be a safe driver teens learn how they should act with an instructor, but how should they act when the instructor is gone and they are in possession of a license? The DMV doesn’t really seem to care.

They have one video called Making a Bad Decision that features one young driver doing everything he shouldn’t do, almost to the point where I think teens wouldn’t take it seriously. They may think that they are ok because they only speed or only not wear their seat belt. Another video does discuss the dangers of drinking and driving. But what about passengers? Night driving? Speeding? Driving recklessly? Seat belt use? These things kill so many more teens than alcohol does, and yet, they don’t have their own videos. The Making a bad decision only glosses over some of these topics but by decision being singular and not pluarl the video almost comes off as saying that only one mistake is made by the young man in the video, in reality, it is far more.

Nearly every other video on their site is about the test, the law or how to apply to get a license. I understand that they are the organization that licenses new drivers so licensing should be a focal point, but they are also the organization responsible for educating our new drivers. They need to focus on the education portion of licensing as well as emphasise how teens can avoid crashes and keep their licenses more than they focus on passing the test. There are just so much more important things at stake here than failing a drivers test, and the DMV needs to tell teens that.


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