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Driver Education Training Varies by State

2/13/2012

Inexperience is a main factor contributing to high crash rates for teen drivers. Formal driver education programs, including behind-the-wheel training with adult supervision, can help new drivers gain the experience needed to remain safe. But driver education requirements vary state by state. 

The study, "Variation in Teen Driver Education by State Requirements and Sociodemographics," in the March 2012 Pediatrics (published online Feb. 13), found that 78.8 percent of public high school students with driver's licenses reported participating in a formal driver education program. However, in states without a driver education requirement, more than 1 in 3 students received no formal driver education before getting their licenses. In addition, more than half reported having no formal behind-the-wheel training. Hispanics, blacks, males and students with lower academic achievements participated in driver education at a much lower level in states that do not require it. In fact, 71 percent of Hispanic students in these states obtained a license with no formal training. The authors conclude that state driver education requirements may be an effective strategy to reduce disparities in these groups.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.