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 |  Mar 24 2011, 11:45 AM

Look at any statistics regarding vehicle accidents or traffic violations and there’s no question that a good deal of those result from young drivers. Over confidence, lack of awareness and inexperience can often be a dangerous mix.

That’s something that Mercedes-Benz is hoping to change, by launching it’s first ever driving academy in the U.S., later on this year. The purpose of the academy is to teach young drivers, especially teens on how to be better, safer motorists by using a combination of interactive classroom sessions, online learning and also practical driver training.

Mercedes-Benz says that it has adopted an innovative driver education program that reflects the best teaching methods from around the world, but tailored to meet US motorists.

According to Alexander Hobbach, a Senior Manager with Daimler AG;  ”despite the dramatic changes in vehicles, highways, and the driving environment over the past 60 years, driver education remains relatively unchanged in the U.S.  The skills required to simply get a license do not fully prepare young drivers to meet the demands of the road. Mercedes-Benz recognizes this issue and as a result is creating an educational program for the U.S. that is based on the best teaching methods and tools available.”

In fact standard driver training in the US consists of just 30 hours of classroom learning and 6 hours of practical driving.

The US driving academy isn’t actually the first the company has opened; back in 2009 it launched a program in the UK. To date, more than 4500 students have enrolled in that program and the academy has achieved a pass rate among students of 79 percent, more than double the national average for first time driving tests in Britain.

Given that US teens are four times more likely to be involved in vehicle related accidents than older drivers (according to information released by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), any auto manufacturer that looks for ways to improve driving standards should be lauded for their endeavors; it certainly makes a refreshing change from simply adding more and more driver aids to the vehicle, which can have the knock on effect of essentially reducing driver skill and responsibility in many cases.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]

 |  Oct 14 2010, 2:27 PM

A new study says that parents are even more important then ever when it comes to teaching their teens to drive. The report goes on to state that parents are not giving their teenagers enough experience behind the wheel before they get their license, especially in challenging situations – this includes driving in bad weather, at night, on highways or in heavy traffic.

In the study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly half of parents reported that after the yearlong learner’s stage, there was at least one condition that they were not comfortable letting their teenagers to drive in on their own. Even though this was reported to be the case, more than one-third of parents still allowed their teens to get licenses within a month of being eligible.

In the U.S., teenagers have the highest crash rate of any age group. It has been found that the most dangerous time is when they drive on their own during the first few years after being licensed.

“The goal is to get people to realize how serious a situation it is,” said Peter Kissinger, president and chief executive of the foundation, a non-profit research and educational organization.

The study, which was conducted by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, was based on analysis of driving patterns of 50 families in North Carolina. During this study, cameras were installed in their vehicles for four months right after the teenagers obtained their learner permits. During the yearlong period, parents were interviewed 10 times.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there had been little scientific research on what parents actually do while supervising their teen’s driving. Thanks to this study, they found that most common form of parental instruction (in 54 percent of the clips), had to do with the handling the vehicle (“you need to slow down”). These instructions were often stressful and emotionally charged. Instructions such as visual scanning or anticipating the actions of other driver, was found in just 5 percent of clips.

[Source: The New York Times]