The Program Evaluation Division of the North Carolina General Assembly issued a report that questions the effectiveness of the administration of the Driver Education Program by the Department of Public Instruction. While there has been anecdotal evidence that teen drivers were not equipped to handle basic driving safety, such as the numerous wrecks in which teens are involved, there has always been the question of whether the deaths were caused by the simple inexperience of teens, or poor training. Of course, there is no substitute for experience, but training can do a lot to get teens started driving safely, and provide a solid foundation to build on. The Program Evaluation Division reported numerous problems with how the Driver Education Program was administered, citing problems such as failing to collect data to determine the effectiveness of the program, failing to provide oversight over local instructors, and failing to develop a uniform method of teaching the program statewide. In addition, the problems with the program were accentuated by the 46% failure rate for students who took the driving test across the state from the years 2007-2013. Notice that this was not for first time test takers, it was for all test takers. All of the students taking this test had completed drivers education. So either the students are entirely incompetent, or the training is inadequate.
Why is this post on a traffic ticket lawyer’s website? We are concerned that our younger clients have not had the best training regarding the traffic laws of this state. For instance, we helped someone who was ticketed for failing to move over for emergency vehicles that were parked by the side of the road. He claimed that he was never made aware that he was supposed to move over in such a situation. For safer citizens, and to make sure that citizens understand traffic laws, the State ought to provide adequate training to young people who are learning to drive. So what is the solution? Some will undoubtedly propose reforming the Driver Education Program, or at least monitoring local programs to make sure that they are teaching appropriately. Others may recommend a required amount of supervised driving hours, allowing an adult to teach safe driving practices on the road, and to provide instant feedback on the teen’s driving choices. Ultimately, something should be done to reform how young drivers are taught, given the large number of accidents caused by teen drivers.