The moment when parents hand the keys to the family car over to their children can be one filled with anxiety, stress and fear. After all, wasn’t it just a few years ago when you were changing their diapers, and now they’re driving? Unfortunately, the fear surrounding teens getting behind the wheel isn’t purely sentimental. According to the social awareness website Dosomething.org, 16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age, and 33% of deaths among 13 to 19-year-olds in 2010 occurred in motor vehicle crashes. Parents, as it turns out, have a lot to worry about.
Cars have become much safer in recent decades, but auto accidents have increased. This, as you can already probably guess, is due to distracted driving. Distraction.gov, a US government website purposed in warning the public about the dangers of distracted driving, has some alarming new statistics about teen drivers.
According to the site, “In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Ten percent of all drivers from 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crashes. The percentage of drivers text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2014. Since 2007, young drivers (age 16 to 24) have been observed manipulating electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers.” The site goes on to say that distracted driving can also be caused by drivers eating and drinking, grooming and talking to passengers.
It’s more important than ever for parents to educate and prepare their children to become safe and responsible drivers. Luckily, Colorado state law demands that young drivers get plenty of education and experience before they hit the road.
The strictest laws are in place for 15 year olds wanting get their license by the time they’re 16. First, young drivers must complete 30 hours of a comprehensive driver’s education course. After the course has been completed, these drivers are invited to apply for a permit. With a driver’s permit, young drivers are then required to log 50 hours of drive time behind the wheel. Teens with a permit must be accompanied by a driving instructor, parent, legal guardian or a licensed adult 21 years of age or older (authorized by parent/guardian) in the front seat, buckled up. After these hours have been logged, 6 hours of professional behind-the-wheel training are required before applying for a driver’s license.
These requirements are less strict for teens who are older than 15 years old. Drivers aged 15 years old and 6 months have the option of taking a 4-hour driver awareness class in lieu of the 30 hour driver’s course that 15 year olds must take. 16 year old drivers aren’t required to take any driving classes, but they are strongly urged to do so.
Mile High Driver Training is committed to creating safe and responsible teen drivers. Having served the Denver area for over a decade, Mile High Driver Training believes that anyone regardless of age or ethnicity who wants to learn can be taught drive. We offer state-required 30 hour online driver education classes, 4 hour driver awareness classes, behind the wheel training and much more. Our professional team of Colorado State Certified instructors is fiercely passionate about driver safety and giving students the tools they need to become great drivers.