Mich. Sets New Requirements for Drivers Training for Teens

September 10, 2007

Every state has some form of graduated driver’s licensing. It typically restricts nighttime driving and bans teen passengers until drivers rack up hours of driving experience.

But Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land said the state can do a better job in training young drivers.

Land recently announced changes to the driver-education curriculum and requirements for young drivers and instructors, The Grand Rapids Press reported Saturday.

The changes require more one-on-one driving with instructors, and additional testing for young drivers to recognize dangers, control their vehicles and provide safe spacing.

Under the revision, young drivers will spend at least four of six driving hours on the road with instructors. In some places, young drivers would have spent most of that time on practice ranges.

Instructors also will undergo additional training starting in October in an effort to standardize training and testing statewide.

Despite the changes, Land said parents still play the most important role in keeping their children safe, from setting rules such as limiting passengers or turning off cell phones to helping them identify and manage risks on the road.

States with restrictions as part of strong graduated driver’s licensing programs have shown declines in fatal crashes involving 16-year-olds.

The initial graduated driving program for new motorists began in 1997. Land spokeswoman Kelly Chesney said, before the restrictions, the state averaged between 100 and 115 deaths of 16- and 17-year-olds in vehicle crashes each year.

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