• Nov 16, 2009
There's always a mouthful of teeth gnashing whenever lax US driver's ed standards are brought up. Yes, we need sixteen-year-olds on the road so they can get to their part time jobs at Taco Bell, but most are really lousy drivers. Or are they just uneducated drivers? Remember, even though 9 and 3 o'clock are the proper way to hold a steering wheel, kids in the US were taught 10 and 2 for generations (though in the mid-90s it was switched to 9 and 3 with the proliferation of airbags). Point is, in terms of car control and emergency handling, US drivers lag behind some other (*cough* Germany *cough*) countries.

However, rather than focusing what we think is most important while driving (avoiding accidents), a couple members of Michigan's legislature are looking to mandate environmentally friendly education into their state's drivers ed curriculum. The Detroit News' Manny Lopez nearly has a coronary attacking the proposed legislation -- "trust me, environmental activism is a religion" -- but we don't really see the big deal.

Especially as the three parts of the bill Lopez brings up are learning about the importance of car-pooling and public transportation, identifying a fuel-efficient vehicle, and recycling vehicle parts and fluids. With the exception of the public transportation aspect (that really has no place in drivers ed unless it's learning how to avoid hitting buses), all of the above is good stuff to know. A smart state legislator might even grab into this proposed legislature and help to pass it only if teaching emergency lane change and braking procedures gets added in.

[Source: Detroit News | Photo Source: Jim Gray/Getty Archives]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Having moved here from Germany I can tell you that the German driving test is expensive at about 1000 euros and difficult. Failure rates are about 35-40% for first timers. It's basically designed to fail you, while in the US...well it's a joke isn't it. I passed mine first time and I barely spoke English at the time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed, the driving test here is complete utter nonsense. A chimp could pass it.

        It's baffling that economical driving isn't part of the curriculum while it is everywhere else.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, imagine that! An American taught more than the bare essentials to drive on our roads.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sounds ridiculous until you realize eco-friendly driving is almost the same thing as defensive driving.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We need something like the UK's Institute of Advanced Motorists (looks like their site is under construction):

      http://www.iam.org.uk/

      But, here's a Wiki article about them:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_of_Advanced_Motorists

      I used to know a guy (had dual US/UK citizenship) who spent his teenage years in the UK, and attended an IAM school. He said it was tough, but after the test, you get an insurance discount, and an IAM grille badge (which came with a red bar to put across it when a driver who wasn't IAM-certified was driving the car).
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think that some of the eco-friendly tips will make the road safer. Keeping your distance to the car in front of you so you don't have to slam on the brakes, not making sudden acceleration/braking. Planning your turns and merges so they are not panic moves. Not speeding.
      We could improve the safety for all of us if we all become better drivers... but that has as much chance of happening as...as people learning to drive properly.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dang difficult ta learn how ta drive when evrabady I watch just tarns left all the dang time. Whood the heck inventad right tarns enerhow? Also how the dang heck do de expact me ta drive right when ma garl friend keeps texting me all the gosh dang time.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ..."whenever lax US driver's ed standards are brought up"...
      We have standards?!
      I'm not convinced we even have driver's training! We make all sorts of safety improvements to vehicles but now only receive marginal benefits. The biggest impact to safety by far would be to have serious driver's training, and not just pay a fee for a license. There are many people who simply should not be driving at all. Not because they can't learn, but they willingly refuse to drive in a safe and courteous manner. I would much rather see someone get busted for failing to signal a lane change, rather than for merely going fast.


      • 5 Years Ago
      All of their objectives to make them "greener" drivers can be met by just teaching the kids some basic vehicle dynamics, if they understand how a car works and behaves they will become better and more efficient drivers. Now teaching about the kids about public transportation is just dumb; how many of us couldn't wait to get our license so we could then go take the bus?