September 12, 2011
As students head back to school this fall, many teen drivers will be hitting the road for the first time. Before they can get behind the wheel however, there are mandatory classes and requirements they need to meet.
A major requirement teens need to accomplish before receiving their driver's license is taking specific driver's education programs that meet both inside the classroom and on the road.
On the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles it states:
"The program must present 36 classroom periods, including components about alcohol safety, drug abuse awareness, aggressive driving, distracted driving, pedestrian and bicycle safety, handicapped parking, fuel-efficient driving practices, motorcycle awareness, and organ and tissue donation awareness. The program must also include 14 in-car instruction periods - 7 periods of driving and 7 periods of observation."
Students can take classes through Albemarle County, or they can take commercial driving classes. There are several options in our area including Green Light Driving, Cavalier Driving and in Fluvanna County the Fork Union Driving Academy.
In Albemarle County, before teens can take a behind the wheel class their parents must take a class of their own.
At the mandatory Parent Seminars, parents learn the same facts and rules of the road that teens are learning.
"I think a lot of parents grew up driving before technology was there," said Rick Lauber, the father of teen driver.
"I didn't have airbags growing up, so the hand position on the steering wheel are different. We learned that you had to have your hands at 10 and 2, but it's actually a little bit lower now," said Richard DeLoria, the father of a teen driver.
While the Parent Seminar is only required by Albemarle County, parents say they do not mind the extra homework.
"Oh man to learn about all the risks and dangers, because i don't realize, said DeLoria.
Since the class started in 2006, crash rates have gone down in the county.
"It has helped, crash rates come from 21.9 percent to 4 percent," said Richard Wharam, the Education Coordinator of the Program.
Preparing teens to hit the road, and slightly easing the minds of their moms and dads.