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Distracted Driving is an Epidemic Driven by Poor Education

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Andrew Zubac, Daniel Bradley Villarini, Luke Hirsh 

350 thousand people each year are affected by car crashes in the US, 460 people a year are affected by Plane crashes. On average, you are required to renew your driver's license every ten years, and unless your state has certain legislation, that renewal process does not require any additional testing; you do not even have to be face to face with someone to renew, you can acquire it by simply requesting it online. Similarly, a flight license lasts forever, however, there are many other procedures to go through before you are able to take to the skies again; you must pass a medical, you must have a flight review within 2 years of flying depending on what type of plane you fly, and you have to have a certain amount of hours logged. Both driving and flying are skills that are dangerous, so why is it so much easier to drive again? Driving is much more common, and while behind the wheel you hold your life, and others accountable. With the commonality of driving, the chance of fault increases exponentially, so it should be necessary to renew your license every 2-5 years as well as a test to ensure ability. Driving is a skill, and just like any other skill it can deteriorate; renewal should be there to to ensure the skills that were once there, have continued to flourish.

In addition to the process of getting your driver's license renewed, there are also many holes in the process of acquiring your license in the first place. These holes arise mostly because of a lack of continuity in testing, and prior ability. Some test facilities are much more lenient than others, putting thousands of liabilities on the road. It is also common practice for someone to be able to drive with ZERO road experience; as long as they pass a relatively easy learner's permit test, they are cleared to drive. Shockingly, it is not required to take Drivers ED; with no Drivers ED many uneducated drivers are traversing the roads, disobeying some of the most crucial laws of driving. While it may initially seem silly to find parallels in flying and driving, we can learn so much from the rules and regulations that go into flying, and apply them to driving. The tests should be regulated and consistent, and there should be more rigorous Drivers ED to ensure that the drivers that are being put on the road know what to do in every situation. We are allowing this broken system to pump out more drivers who are untested each and every day. We allow them to control 2 ton machines going upwards of 80 MPH, risking their lives and the lives around them.  With millions of new cars and drivers surfacing every year, there is no escaping the effects of this system; whether you live in a city, or a small town, you and your family can be affected. The tests in America do not apply the real world situations that occur when driving. It is the little things that are easily forgotten about, such as drinking an iced coffee, that can be the most devastating. In fact, a recent study done by Exxon shows that 70% of drivers eat behind the wheel. This number should be relatively nonexistent as it only takes 4.6 seconds to go the length of a football field at 55 MPH.

Statistics like these can be especially frightening to someone who has just passed their driving test. Young drivers are the most vulnerable on the road and the most likely to get into an accident. As stated previously, this is all due to poor driver education. In order to get your license in America, there are three things that you need to do; Take a 4-hour class on drivers safety, practice driving with someone who has a license, and then pay the 30$ after passing your test. In a place like Germany, for example, you need to pass a multitude of different written tests that are taken in 3 month intervals, take classes for 8 months straight, and pay fees of up to 2,000€. There are also a number of different health exams and first aid training courses that students are required to pass. The result of all this training is a mortality rate that is less than half that of the U.S. Some German highways, like the autobahn, don’t even have speed limits and yet drivers still don’t cause as many problems as they do in the U.S. This comparison reveals the real secret to improving road safety for young drivers- reforming the driver education system. By making drivers education not only mandatory, but more extensive, we can educate young drivers on how to properly drive without distractions. This starts at the core, basic education. If you learn to drive well, you will always drive well.

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