The first year that American teenagers have a drivers license will be among the most dangerous of their lives, as vehicle accidents are the leading cause of teenage deaths. Yet most states (including South Carolina) don't require driver education/driver training before getting a license — half of all teenagers fail to undergo any formal behind-the-wheel training (Randy Dotinga, HealthDay reporter).
The drastic need for change is revealed by realizing that in 2001's 9-11 attacks 2,996 people were killed and in 2012's vehicle crashes 2,823 teens were killed.
The first need is to have mandatory driver education/driver training. More facts to show the need are:
1) One in three young people crashes in the first six months after getting a license.
2) Half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school (National Safety Council).
3) The fatality rate for drivers 16—19 is four times that of drivers age 25—69.
4) Six teenagers die daily in vehicle crashes.
The second need is having one agency with the same standardized course for all driver education/driver training courses in South Carolina. At this time there are two agencies with extreme differences in teacher preparation and teaching requirements.
One agency requires a degree and 12 semester hours in driver and traffic safety education before one can teach it; another agency requires the owner/representative of a school to take one college course for certification and then that person can teach people under him 40 regular hours to become certified to teach.
Legislation is needed for both of the above needs in order to make a difference. We need to help our youth to live to become the leaders of tomorrow!
Reading, writing, and arithmetic are fine. However, what good is it if teenagers do not know the physics of a vehicle and end up killing themselves? Most European countries have seen the need to require several safety courses before granting licenses to teenagers. We also know that youth is the joy of the past, hope of the present, and the promise of the future.
May South Carolina do her part to require that teenagers take driver education/driver training so they can do their part in making safety first and making safety last.
Joe Sabbadino, Taylors