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March 14, 2016
Limitations of Driver’s Education Requires Parents to Provide Critical Training
Driver’s education requirements can vary greatly from one state to the next, but experts say the role of parents in the licensing process is most critical.

According to AAA, whether a teen takes formal driver’s education or not, it’s parental involvement before and after a teen passes the licensing exams that can have the greatest impact on safety.

In North Dakota only teens under the age of 16 are required to complete driver’s education. State law allows those over age 16 to get a license with no formal training. Compare this to obtaining a license with the North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology to give manicures, which state law requires a minimum of 350 hours of supervised training.

“Driver’s education is important to setting the foundation for driving success and it’s the parents who have the responsibility to build on that foundation,” said Gene LaDoucer, North Dakota spokesman for AAA-The Auto Club Group.

AAA says parents should consider the following when evaluating their role and that of driver’s education:

  • North Dakota law only requires driver’s education for teens under age 16.
  • Driver’s education can be completed in as few as six hours of behind-the-wheel training.
  • Behind-the-wheel training is most often conducted during daylight hours on good roads.
  • Research shows that, on average, it takes a new driver about five years to develop the ability demonstrated by the average driver.
 “The first 12 months after a teen receives their license is critical,” says LaDoucer. “National studies show novice drivers have a crash rate four times higher than experience drivers per miles driven. On the other hand, other studies have shown teens with involved parents are half as likely to crash and twice as likely to wear seat belts.”

A good starting point for parents is the requirements of state law, says LaDoucer.  Currently, teens under the age of 16 must obtain at least 50 hours driving experience under the supervision of a parent or other adult during the permit phase. The experience must be provided in various driving conditions and situations including driving at night, on gravel roads, in rural and urban settings and in winter conditions. “Failing to provide this critical experience -- even for those over age 16 -- can lead to tragedy for the teen, other road users, friends and even siblings,” says LaDoucer.

“Formal driver’s education will never be able to provide the hours of experience needed to address the myriad of challenges facing new drivers. For that reason, parents must be willing to carry on the task well beyond issuance of the permit and driver’s license,” said LaDoucer. “Getting a license in hand should not be viewed as certification of safe driving skills. It only means the real-world education and all the responsibility that comes with it has just begun,” said LaDoucer.



Gene LaDoucer
phone: 701.893.3759
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.

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