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]