America does a terrible job of demanding new drivers be good drivers, but your teen driver can get a leg up with a new course now being offered by Mercedes-Benz.
Like its fellow countrymen at Audi, Mercedes says it will begin teaching teen drivers safe road skills, starting late this year.
Dubbed the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy, the program will fold class time, computer time and track time together to show the newest drivers a few things beyond the usual parallel-parking job.
Benz has long trained owners of its AMG cars on the finer skills of keeping it paint-side up, but why teens? They say our roads have become much more challenging in the past half-century, while our driver training is among the worst in the First World, at about 36 hours total by their judgement. Hard to argue with that.
The company hopes the U.S. program will add quality training to the lackluster parking-lot techniques most U.S. drivers are taught, and they're pointing to big boosts in the United Kingdom, where its graduates have doubled their pass rate on the driving exam. They also add that, once certified, they'll be the only automaker to qualify as an alternative to the usual pre-licensing driving schools.
And of course, it wouldn't hurt if some of those first-time drivers one day become first-time Mercedes owners.
Mercedes says it will announce the locations for the academy later this year.