Integrating Driving Simulators into Driver’s Ed Will Help Reduce Teen Fatalities in Car Crashes
There is a sad truth to our world that nobody seems to acknowledge; America has the most laughable and pointless driver education and licensing system in the modern civilized world. As it sits, most states on the U.S. offer no driver education in schools, and of the few that do offer driver’s ed they likely use programs that were created shortly after World War II ended. Every year, tens of thousands of American’s lose their lives to automotive crashes, and auto deaths are the No. 1 killer of teens.
When Alan Brown lost his son to an accident, he decided it was time to push a new form of driver education into his state of Georgia. He wanted to push the widespread adoption of simulator training. What he accomplished with this mission is nothing short of miraculous. The Verge has written a long and compelling piece compiling data from all around the nation about auto fatalities, simulator training and the effect it has. Alan Brown had a law passed in Georgia that saw fines for traffic violations increase to pay for new simulators for high school students. Since the simulator training began, the state has seen teen auto deaths drop by 60 percent. That accounts for one saved life every two days.
To get the full effect of the changes and advantages that come with the move to simulators, your best bet is to read the full piece over on The Verge. It is well written, compelling and loaded with incredible facts and statistics. One thing that is important to consider about the effectiveness of simulator training comes from the government. Professional pilots, NASA astronauts and every branch of the military uses simulation training heavily and often to increase competence of a skill and improve safety ratings. If it’s good enough for NASA to teach people how to fly a spaceship, it should be more than good enough for us to save the lives of the next generation of Americans.
What do you guys think about the use of simulators to help train new drivers how to handle dangerous situations? Is this a great idea, a waste of money, a silly pipe dream or a powerful use of technology to save lives? Sound off in the comments below to let us know.
Click past the jump to read more about driving simulators pro and cons.
Why it matters
According the piece on The Verge there were more than 43,000 teenagers killed in automobile accidents between 2003 and 2012. That is the equivalent of a plane crash every single day with no survivors. Can you imagine the outrage and legal reform that would result if there was a catastrophic plane crash every single day?
The use of simulators allows students to experience, and practice handling dangerous driving situations without actually putting themselves in harm. If they react poorly in a simulator, the consequence is little more than a game over screen, not the loss of a young life. With greater training teenagers will be better equipped to handle the dangers of the road, and as time goes on a whole generation of safer drivers will lead to safer roads overall and a decrease of auto deaths and injuries across all age groups. This could also have a trickle effect that sees the nation’s insurance rates drop due to less overall collisions nationwide.
That said, there is a large cost associated with simulator training. With some of the more advanced machines costing $20,000 or more, the price of installing simulators in every high school in the country would be catastrophic. With an increase of safety technology and automated features in cars, many people feel that the automobile will become safe enough that this advanced training won’t be necessary as cars will be basically automated before enough capital can be raised to implement a simulator program.