“Hey, Dad, can I borrow the car?”
Most of us remember asking that question when we finally got our license.
Getting a driver’s license is a symbol of independence for 16 year olds. But, for some, it may no longer be as important.
Lack of money and a car, busy with other activities, and teen driver safety laws in their state are some reasons teens are waiting longer to get behind the wheel. (State Farm, 2013)
Some teens also shared they are nervous or scared to drive and that is why they are waiting to get their license. And with good reason, the number one killer of American teens is car crashes.
High School Junior Logan Watkins, in Winter Haven, FL recalls the many “medi-vac helicopter” rescues at the busy intersection near her home. “It really scared me. I knew the online driver’s education requirement wasn’t going to be enough for me to be confident and competent behind the wheel. So I wasn’t in any hurry to drive.” Several of her classmates felt the same way.
When Logan heard about the Teen Driver Challenge program from her school administrators, she was very interested. The program was developed by and offered, state-wide, by The Florida Sheriff’s Association.
The Challenge is not a supplemental or advanced driving course. It is a defensive driving program that covers various topics including:
- Vehicle Dynamics
- Human Factors
- Responsibility and Liability
- Effects of Drugs and Alcohol
- Night Driving
- Aggressive Driving
The course is an intensive, half day of classroom instruction and half day of practical driving in the teen’s car with a Florida Sheriff’s Deputy. This includes the reminder to always keep two hands on the wheel and two eyes on the road.
Logan was grateful for the in-depth classroom study which included actual crash videos and, especially, the personal instruction in her own vehicle.
“I’m more comfortable behind the wheel and I feel more prepared to react to other drivers’ habits and potential dangers.”
So, teens today may have a few reasons to wait to drive, but for some Florida teens, one of the reasons isn’t fear of the danger and the new responsibilities thanks to The Teen Driver Challenge.
State Farm is the major sponsor of the Teen Driver Challenge. Their gift helps keep the classes FREE to teen drivers.