Drivers ed isn't enough for new drivers, Volvo report finds

July 12, 2019

Americans agree on one thing: when it comes to driver's education, the system is seriously lagging.

The Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Volvo found the majority of Americans believe the standard driver's license test is outdated, at a minimum.

More than half of the respondents said they feel the driver's ed system is outdated, while 9 in 10 supported increased access to education. Specifically, Americans were in favor of adding driver's ed back to public schools. In 1970, 95 percent of students were offered driver's ed at a public school. Today, just 10 states have public driver's ed programs.

Most of today's new young drivers rely on their parents or private schools for training. In fact, most drivers cited their parents as the biggest influence when learning to drive. Per the data, the response was double the amount who said their driving instructor provided the most influence.

When it comes time to line up the cones for maneuverability, 3 out of 5 Americans feel the test is designed as an "easy pass" and doesn't test a driver's abilities. Further, 41 percent said the government should mandate at least 50 hours of driver training before taking a driver's license test. Today, 1 in 3 drivers said they were required to have fewer than 20 hours behind the wheel. The average time across states was 46 hours mandated, but 16 states require 40 hours or fewer before taking the final test.

The skills for good driving start before driver's education, however. In typical fashion, teen drivers are first granted a learner's permit to operate a vehicle with adult supervision. However, a previous study found most parents don't enforce the rules for a learner's permit. This includes curfews, the number of passengers in the car, and letting the teen driver hit the road without adult supervision.

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