Better Driver Education Needed in SC
Dear Driver & Traffic Safety Education Colleagues,
National and state rankings indicate more and better driver and traffic safety education is needed in South Carolina. “According to the SC Department of Public Safety, one teen driver was involved in a fatal or injury-causing accident every 1.3 hours in 2019” (www.harbinlaw.com). The Greenville News reported that “SC has the second worst drivers in the U.S., study says” (January 25, 2019). “SC ranks number 1 in the fatalities rate per 100 million vehicular miles traveled” (www.doi.sc.gov). ABC News 4 reported “SC is 2nd in U.S. for drunk driving deaths.” “SC ranks 5th in careless driving and 11th in speeding” (www.doi.sc.gov). An Insurify study states “SC has 4th most speeding tickets in US.”
The answer to changing the above statistics is driver and traffic safety education for our teenagers that will continue throughout life. We believe in education as Abraham Lincoln said—that “upon the subject of education…I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.” Yet, South Carolina has waived the high school law that driver education must be offered in at least one class in all high schools! Now only a few public high schools offer driver education. The SC provision for commercial teacher certification has a loophole that teachers can be certified without taking a driver and traffic safety class at a university! The only students who must take a driver education or driver training class by SC law are those 15 and 16 years of age. Why do we say that we believe in education for all students but do not promote driver education or driver training in SC!
The American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association has stated that driver education is “a system for developing safe, efficient motor vehicle operators who understand traffic safety programs and drive accordingly. This education process seeks to instill safe driving habits which can be adapted to the changing traffic environment over the course of a lifetime.” (ADTSEA Broadside).
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself” (John Dewey). Reading, writing and arithmetic are fine. However, what good is it if teenagers do not know the physics of an automobile and end up killing themselves? Nationwide, over two thousand students will not make high school graduation because of highway collisions—the number one killer of teenagers (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
Let us make South Carolina better in driver and traffic safety!