People ask me all the time how I think the U.S. can significantly cut driving deaths and injuries. It’s a bit like asking how we can make our government in Washington D.C. more efficient and less costly: it’s complicated.
The sad truth is way too many people are killed on U.S. roads, whether it involves motor vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists. 2016 is looking to be the worst year for traffic fatalities and injuries in decades.
Let’s do a quick reality check. Passing the driving test these days in any state is ridiculously easy. Comparing a U.S. driving test to most other industrialized (and many non-industrialized) countries is like comparing their Master’s thesis in physics to our fourth grade history test. Due to political and economic realities, the driving tests in the U.S. will not be made as difficult as they needs to be. It would take years of training to pass, just as it now does in other countries. That is a political non-starter—as I said, a complex problem.
I was a computer programmer for years and used lateral thinking to fix complex problems. I have brought that same thinking to my traffic safety work. All of my teaching materials are different and tailored to help driver education teachers, parents with children of ALL ages and grade 4 thru 12 /students.
Many teachers are currently using my teaching materials in classrooms across the country. My Driving Zone 2 DVD has been given out to over 30,000 driver education teachers. My materials are provided at no cost to all driver education instructors at both commercial and public schools.
Today, I’m happy to offer my materials at no cost, while supplies last, to DriveitHOME readers.
My new Realities of Driving Today video is designed for driver education teachers and parents to show to kids around the time they start learning to drive. It helps students understand how important the process of learning to drive is—whether they are lucky enough to have structured driver education or not. You can read more details about this new video production in last month’s blog. The Realities of Driving Today video can be downloaded at www.tsef.org.
Over 50% of all new drivers in the US receive zero structured driver education, yet incredibly they still pass the driving test! Also, research shows that over 90% of all new license holder’s drive with the same distracted driving habits and behaviors they learned from watching their parent drive as they grew up. Sadly, most new drivers crash within the first 12 months of receiving their full license.
With the understanding that with most US children, parents are the only instruction they get when it comes to their child’s driving education, I produced a DVD called The Parent Driving Zone to help. This DVD has traffic/mobility safety information for parents with children from newborn to age 18 plus.
Recent research now shows that driving habits and behaviors start transferring from parents to children the moment a child’s safety seat is turned around to face forward. If parents start thinking about traffic safety when a child gets their driving permit, they are about 15 years too late.
To receive a free copy of this DVD (normally $24.95), visit www.tsef.org and fill out a request form.
I have also developed a Family Traffic Safety Education Packet for families with children of all ages. Research tells us parents are most engaged with their children when they are newborns. This is the time/age when parents need to initially understand how to help and protect their children with regard to traffic safety issues. Anyone interested in receiving a packet (free of charge) can visit the same site and fill out a request form.
Finally, I have accumulated some interesting data speaking to grade 4 to 8 grade students over the last 5 years. We talk about traffic safety, both as passengers in a vehicle and as pedestrians, cyclists, skate boarders, etc. From this data, I developed a mobility curriculum for teachers of grade 4 thru 8 students. It has been successfully tested in central IL over the last three years. The curriculum can be downloaded for free at www.tsef.org.
I hope you enjoy the resources and find them useful as you start to teach your children or students about the realities of driving today. See you next month!