Spencerblog vs. Editorial Board
It’s a scene that’s been replayed, too many times, all too often here in Delaware County. A group of teenagers. A speeding car. A horrible accident. Multiple fatalities.From Mine:
They’re tragedies that sear the soul of the community every time they happen. Adults despair. Teens grieve deeply and slow down the car – for a while, anyway.
And everyone wonders why, and if anything can be done to prevent another tragedy in the future.
There are no certainties in life. But the Pennsylvania Legislature, which does so many things wrong, did something right this year. It approved a package of new restrictions on teenage drivers that set passenger limitations, seat belt requirements and mandates more driver education.
In 1999, a Johns Hopkins University study noticed that school districts that dumped their drivers’ ed programs (mostly for reasons of cost) saw a 27 percent decrease in car accidents among teen drivers.UPDATE: My source on the teen brain function: NPR
How is that possible? Simple. Driver’s ed only really teaches kids how to handle a car, not how to drive responsibly.
Ten years later, even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration caught on.
“Despite widespread appeal of driver education, scientific evaluations indicate that it does not produce safer drivers,” said the NHTSA in a 2009 report.
With teens, the problem isn’t their driving skills — it’s their not-yet-formed decision-making ability. The frontal lobe of the average teenager’s brain is still in the process of being formed and nothing in the new law speeds that up.
The state is now requiring the extra 15 hours of driver’s training to be split between night driving and in bad weather. It would be more effective to require teen drivers to read a book or practice a musical instrument (though not while driving). Both are known to improve brain function.