The Debate over Driver's Education

The Debate over Driver's Education

There are 143 comments on the WZZM Grand Rapids story from Aug 12, 2007, titled The Debate over Driver's Education. In it, WZZM Grand Rapids reports that:

The crash that killed both Sam Meengs and Karen Linder, as well as several other similar accidents involving teenagers, has sparked a debate on wzzm13.com. It centers around drivers' education.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WZZM Grand Rapids.

First Prev
of 8
Next Last
Don Bergman

Hudsonville, MI

#1 Aug 12, 2007
My name is Don Bergman, I'm 18 years old. Even though I am a teenage driver, I do believe that we get enough instruction and supervision when we are in Driver's Training.
STATISTICS say that 25% of car crashes in Michigan involve a teenage driver. I'm not trying to prove that wrong, but me, myself am NOT a statistic concerning that. Yes, I've came close to getting into a car accident(s), but being a smart driver had something to do with me not getting into the car accident(s). I believe that teenager get enough instruction, but made stupid decisions whilst they drive.
Bob

Littleton, CO

#2 Aug 12, 2007
It's not a matter of how long people are instructed, it's that they don't care enough while driving. Many become distracted with things like phones and friends, which is normally taught in drivers education and just common sense, but it comes down to the parents in my opinion. I'd be curious how many teenagers driving DON'T have a cell phone, or how often they actually drive alone.
2 sides to the story

Roy, UT

#3 Aug 13, 2007
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) publication reported, "In 1997, older people made up 9 percent of the resident population but accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all pedestrian fatalities."

"On the basis of estimated annual travel, the fatality rate for drivers 85 and over is nine times as high as the rate for drivers 25 through 69 years old."

http://www.drdriving.org/elderly/
Lucy

Rockford, MI

#4 Aug 13, 2007
I'm sorry, but as a parent, I disagree with some here. My husband and I have been discussing these teen accidents and deaths. Does anyone else remember taking drivers education for 6 weeks? Pretty much took up all of our summer! I do NOT think these kids are being instructed NEARLY long enough, or well enough. And we're paying through the teeth for it!!

I believe we need to go back to the old system of taking up these kids' entire summer(s) to PROPERLY instruct them. It's just like school - the instructors are throwing everything back into the parents' lap, never mind we're being taxed to death for their supposed professional instruction!!
Bob

Littleton, CO

#5 Aug 13, 2007
Lucy, it doesn't take 2 months to teach someone how to watch for stop signs. If it does, then maybe they shouldn't be on the road at all. Like I said previously, it's not about how long it takes to instruct, it's that they don't care to pay enough attention with distractions in the car, or just not enough with even no distractions.
Liz

Battle Creek, MI

#6 Aug 13, 2007
I believe the kids are not given enough driving experience in various conditions (weather, night, rain, etc). These kids do not drive Monday thru Friday from 11:00am to 2:00pm. As parents it is also our resonsibility to give our kids as much driving time as we can and become educated about our child's knowledge of road rules and safety. When we started to drive we had a radio and friends, now our kids have a radio with a CD player, a DVD, road map system and that's just in the car. It is hard enough to concentrate on all the things that make to car run now you add all the outside elements. THE KIDS NEED MORE TIME TO PRACTICE IN DIFFERENT SITUATIONS.
Lucy

Rockford, MI

#7 Aug 13, 2007
Well, again - we disagree. It's like cramming before an exam - you take it in initially, but unless you apply it on a regular basis, it's not going to sink in.

My point is also that, if we have to pay so exorbitantly for these drivers ed courses, our children should receive better instruction. My husband went along with our son for his road test, and was shocked that the instructor passed him. That's when we began to work with him on a daily basis. We could SEE that he was not being instructed properly.

I don't agree that these kids "don't care enough to pay enough attention". I still believe that they are NOT being properly instructed - both by professionals, AND their parents.
concerned

Grand Rapids, MI

#8 Aug 13, 2007
I agree that drivers training needs to be improved. After drivers training my daughter did not know what "yield" meant, seems neither did any of her friends nor did they recall being told in drivers ed. However, I believe the bigger problem is distractions. CD players, I-pods and especially cell phones distract young inexperienced drivers. These kids like to think they are the best drivers and can do it all at once but they can't and shouldn't at any age.
I know a kid who has been involved in 2 accidents while talking to his mother on the cell phone.
It is very sad how many kids have died this summer in cars. It doesn't have to happen.
Christina

Broomfield, CO

#9 Aug 13, 2007
Lucy has made some very valid points! I commend both Lucy and her husband for taking the steps to help their son when it was clear the instructor didn't do his/her job! If more parents paid attention as she and her husband did, maybe some of these accidents could be avoided.

“Lost my mind”

Since: Apr 07

be back later

#10 Aug 13, 2007
After my stepdaughter completed first session of driver's ed, I got to be one the parents to ride with her. She would babysit for me in the afternoon's after school, and I had her drive my car to take her home. She was a very safe driver. But I also laid down the rules before she got behind the wheel. Seatbelts had to be fastened by everyone in the car. She didn't get to touch the radio. Her cell phone was shut off or at least on silence and was tucked into her bag/purse where it would stay until she was out of the car.

We had more problems with OTHER people on the road though! I remember a couple of times of someone tailgating her so badly we could no longer see the headlights of their car behind us! And this was in a 25mph zone, and she was going the speed limit. As soon as it was faster, they passed us while we were going uphill approaching a blind corner. Smart huh?

I would have to say I think it depends on WHERE the kids take their driver's education that will make the difference. The driving agencies out there keep farming the kids in and shipping them out. It doesn't seem to be as long as a program and quitely frankly, I don't think it's worth the cost.

I remember going 6 weeks in the summer, and you couldn't miss but maybe one day. If you did without a valid reason (ie super sick, funeral, etc), you had to wait until next session and take it again. If that happened to be the last session of the summer, than your parents had to pay for a private driving school, or you had to wait until next summer. What I DIDN'T like about our program was there was NO night driving hour requirements. There was no mandatory road test we had to pay for before we got our license, that was all included in our six weeks. PLUS, after 30 days of a permit, if you were already 16 you could legally get your license. That is NO WHERE NEAR enough time on the road to put you behind the wheel of a heaving potentially killing machine! As irritated as I was at my mother, I'm grateful to her that she made me wait until my birthday, which gave me 6 months on the road to get my license and she made me drive at night and in bad weather to boot!

But please tell me, do they really even ever teach parallel parking in driver's ed? I remember a brief half day in the parking lot using the driver's ed cars for me, and my stepdaughter had issues with it too. Plus do you know how many people I see who CAN'T parallel park around t ow n? And for a t ow n FULL of parking meters, it's a disaster waiting to happen!

“Lost my mind”

Since: Apr 07

be back later

#11 Aug 13, 2007
Lucy wrote:
Well, again - we disagree. It's like cramming before an exam - you take it in initially, but unless you apply it on a regular basis, it's not going to sink in.
My point is also that, if we have to pay so exorbitantly for these drivers ed courses, our children should receive better instruction. My husband went along with our son for his road test, and was shocked that the instructor passed him. That's when we began to work with him on a daily basis. We could SEE that he was not being instructed properly.
I don't agree that these kids "don't care enough to pay enough attention". I still believe that they are NOT being properly instructed - both by professionals, AND their parents.
Good for you Lucy!! Glad to see there are parents out there who are paying attention to what their kids are doing on the roads and KNOW when they need further instruction! Take a bow and a gold star!!:)
WHO CARES

Grand Rapids, MI

#12 Aug 13, 2007
PEOPLE/ YOU ARE BORN THEN YOU DIE
IN TODAYS WORLD WE USE CELL PHONES/LOUD STEREOS/WE TEXT/PARENTS DONT CARE/IF YOU MADE DRIVERS ED AYEAR LONG COURSE PEOPLE WILL STILL DIE / HOWEVER LONG YOU ARE ON THIS EARTH LUCK PLAYS THE HAND AS TO HOW LONG YOU ARE HERE AND IT IS GETTING WORSE BY THE DAY

GOOOD LUCK
Dottie

Grand Rapids, MI

#13 Aug 13, 2007
I've been horrified by so many teenage accidents occuring lately. And, if I recall all of them were a result of the teenager failing to stop. It is sad. I can't say as though I believe it to be the fault of poor driver's education. I would have to think that the majority of these kids know what a stop sign and a red light means. Thos are things that they pick up when riding bicycles. I do believe it has more to do with the distractions.. cell phones, passengers in the car, etc. I do agree that parents also need to be a large part of the education. I as a parent would want to ensure my child is learning what they need to know. My daughter is currently in session 1 of driver's ed and she's doing pretty well. But I'm not leaving it all up to the instructor to make sure she's road worthy. I feel it to be my responsibility as well.
Red

Rockford, MI

#14 Aug 13, 2007
I believe also that there should be more drivers training for teens, however the cost is horrendous.
My own opinion of this matter is that adults in these United States, Drive like maniacs, the speed limit is 70 on the expressway but a lot and I mean a lot of drivers pass me like I'm sitting still, so why would a teen drive any different?
RLB

Logan, UT

#15 Aug 13, 2007
There are too many distractions for kids today. In addition to eating while driving and changing CD's/playing with the stereo, they are all on cell phones and often times texting! This is not acceptable. They are involved in accidents as well as causing them. Your focus has to be on the road and it simply cannot be there if you are texting someone.

“Secure our borders!!!”

Since: Jun 07

Aurora, CO

#16 Aug 13, 2007
Rhonda Coe , I hope your ok . It was not your fault .
001 , One-Shot

To put the blame on drivers training only is wrong . There are many factors to look at . For instance , look at all the movies that have come out in the last few years that seem to encourage our youth to drive reckless , without fear and not seeming to care about their or anyone else’s safety . There are also several T.V. shows that encourage fast driving . Look at American Hot Rod . Those guys build/rebuild a car , when done they take it on the road w/out plates , insurance and they do burn outs ,drive fast etc. At least that is the way I see it on some episodes .
Look at all the video games that are also out there that deal with fast cars , racing , drag racing and speed .
I do not think you can blame Drivers Training alone . There really seems to be more things to add. I would think the parents would spend some time and teach these kids . Maybe these kids should visit a local morgue before they get their license . Lots of maybes and probably little change .
Yes , movies with car chases , fast cars etc have been around for years , Today they seem more realistic and a part of the everyday life and culture .

Do not put the blame on speed limits . That is a cheesy comment . Almost all the accidents as of late have been in areas where the speed limit is 35-55 mph .

example of movies

The Fast and the Furious , 2 Fast 2 Furious
The Fast and the Furious , Tokyo Drift
Gone in 60 seconds , Days of Thunder , Cars / it’s a cartoon geared for even the little ones
Bad Boys 2 ,Terminator 3 ,The Italian ,The Matrix Reloaded
Starsky & Hutch ,Redline , Talladega Nights ,NASCAR ,“Pinks” on speed TV , American Hot Rod

Dottie

Grand Rapids, MI

#17 Aug 13, 2007
Red wrote:
I believe also that there should be more drivers training for teens, however the cost is horrendous.
My own opinion of this matter is that adults in these United States, Drive like maniacs, the speed limit is 70 on the expressway but a lot and I mean a lot of drivers pass me like I'm sitting still, so why would a teen drive any different?
I agree here too. Driver's in general are in such a hurry these days. Many of the seasoned drivers are the ones making the new drivers nervous on the road. Not many people know how to stick to the speed limit. And, when they get behind someone who is sticking to the limit, they get irritated and impatient. What kind of example is that? Why does everyone have to be in such a rush?
Mike

Loveland, CO

#18 Aug 13, 2007
I don't know where people took driver's ed for the whole summer, but I didn't do that.

I took driver's ed back in the summer of 1978. It was a three week course through the GRPS. I took it at Union High School. It took about three hours a morning, and at the end of the time we had to drive for one month with our parents before we could take the drivers test.

I believe the instruction today is vastly more involved than before. But you have to look closer at one thing: the kids.

I don't care how much or how long you "train" them to drive. If they don't take it seriously, there are going to be problems. Yes, there are always going to be accidents - we lost schoolmates back then as well - but we knew that driving was a privilege, and took it seriously. Okay, well most of us did.

You have to realize that if the kids don't pay attention - if they just want to go out and do stuff without thinking - they will get into trouble. There were distractions back then, but we didn't have cell phones to bother us.

In all the years I've been a driver, I've gotten in one accident: I hit a deer. I wasn't a "safe" driver when I was a teenager. I raced around west Michigan, had street drag races, tried to outrace the police, all the stuff a typical teenage boy does. But I paid attention.

All I'm saying is don't blame the driver's ed system 100%. Blame the kids, blame societal pressure on the kids, blame the parents for not bringing the kids up correctly.
Dottie

Grand Rapids, MI

#19 Aug 13, 2007
Mike wrote:
I don't know where people took driver's ed for the whole summer, but I didn't do that.
I took driver's ed back in the summer of 1978. It was a three week course through the GRPS. I took it at Union High School. It took about three hours a morning, and at the end of the time we had to drive for one month with our parents before we could take the drivers test.
I believe the instruction today is vastly more involved than before. But you have to look closer at one thing: the kids.
I don't care how much or how long you "train" them to drive. If they don't take it seriously, there are going to be problems. Yes, there are always going to be accidents - we lost schoolmates back then as well - but we knew that driving was a privilege, and took it seriously. Okay, well most of us did.
You have to realize that if the kids don't pay attention - if they just want to go out and do stuff without thinking - they will get into trouble. There were distractions back then, but we didn't have cell phones to bother us.
In all the years I've been a driver, I've gotten in one accident: I hit a deer. I wasn't a "safe" driver when I was a teenager. I raced around west Michigan, had street drag races, tried to outrace the police, all the stuff a typical teenage boy does. But I paid attention.
All I'm saying is don't blame the driver's ed system 100%. Blame the kids, blame societal pressure on the kids, blame the parents for not bringing the kids up correctly.
Amen. Honestly I don't recall how long driver's ed was for me. It was in 1986 and it wasn't as involved as the instruction is today.
Jaylynne

Caledonia, MI

#20 Aug 13, 2007
I have been doing a little research this morning. There have been a lot of tragic deaths over the summer months, but not all have been teenagers, or teenagers that have caused them, I believe when a young driver dies, it just make bigger news. Here are some examples

1. 06-28-07 Wisniewski 31 Died in a crash, when he crashed into a parked vehicle at a gas station.

2. 05-13-2007 87 year old man died in an accident in Gaines Townhip.

3. 07-06-07 Mark Hochstetler 28 of Clarksville ran stop sign and was hit in drivers side, he was killed.

4. 04-02-07 A 42-year-old woman from Hamilton crossed the centerline and sideswiped a gravel truck. The semi truck then rolled over, spilled its load and landed on top of an oncoming conversion van. The second van and semi truck then burst into flames. The van's driver, a 56-year-old man from Plainwell, was trapped inside and died at the scene.

5. 08-09-07 A 43-year-old man from Grant died after being ejected from his vehicle, which then landed on him during a crash

6. 08-03-07 11 year old Charity, her mother, Sharon, 48, and friend Hannah Spriensma, 11, were headed to a family get-together at Douglas Walker Park, Tim Rus said. Kent County sheriff's deputies said a 29-year-old Grand Rapids woman drove her 2002 Ford Explorer into the back of Sharon Rus' 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier as she waited to turn left into the park. Charity, who was sitting in the back seat, was wearing a seatbelt. She died at the scene.

I really think we just have too many distractions while we drive. Cell phone. Navigator systems, cd players, etc.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 8
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Rockford Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
News Winner of $57M Mega Millions has criminal record (Jun '08) Aug '16 TreforG 153
Old Thunder Chicken Club - Anyone Remember It? (Mar '07) Aug '16 steve 20
Solid Wood Furniture For Sale Wrexham Jun '16 ayobangkit 1
News Diner picks up lunch tab for dozens of soldiers... (Mar '16) Mar '16 Who 1
Debate: Gay Marriage - Rockford, MI (Jul '10) Dec '15 Hello 25
News Rockford police sergeant charged with driving s... (Jul '15) Jul '15 Rockford hypocrytics 1
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (May '15) May '15 huh huh huh ha ha... 1

Rockford Jobs

More from around the web

Personal Finance

Rockford Mortgages