Giving up the car

A generation ago Drivers’ Ed was an important part of the high school curriculum in California and most 16-year-olds looked forward to getting a driver’s license more than they looked forward to graduation. As school budgets declined, schools dropped the at-the-wheel part of the training and gradually they are dropping the whole course. In larger cities driving is no longer considered a necessary social skill for teenagers, although rural teens still feel they need access to a car to have any social life at all. This change has crept up on us without many grown-ups even noticing, but it has an impact on all of us. Teenagers are more often killed or seriously injured in automobile accidents than other age groups. At a time when scientists are learning more about adolescent brains and how much training is needed for kids to learn not to take dangerous chances, it’s not a time to give up on drivers’ ed. A car is the most dangerous piece of equipment most people handle in their lifetime. Let’s give our children the education they need to learn how to handle them safely.

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