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Car Insurance Driver's Education Updated

You can have lower car insurance rates when your teen completes a driver's education course. But its not the driver's Ed you remember. The first classes were taught in schools in the 1950s as a result of the great highway building boom.

Today, most states do not pay for driver's education, requiring instead that parents log 40 to 60 in-car hours with their kids as a prerequisite for a license. Since many parents want the benefits of driver's ed for both their car insurance rates and their offspring's' safety, but cannot spend the time, paid driver's education courses are the answer.

But the long decline of driver's education may be ending. Some states, prodded by a growing coalition of public school instructors and safety groups, are rethinking the way teens learn the rules of the road. Driver's education officials are upgrading and standardizing what teens are taught, putting an emphasis on anticipating risky situations.

The market has also moved in to quickly fill the void. Safe Smart Women , a non-profit group in Silver Spring, MD., stages clinics for female drivers in 12 cities. Florida-based New Driver Car Control Clinics are in 10 states; its half-day seminars place teen drivers and one parent inside a car while experts radio over instructions on how to brake at the vehicle's limit and swerve while retaining control. Even the AARP has an 8-hour classroom refresher Driver Safety Program to learn the effects of aging on driving and how you can adjust your driving.

A one-day course ,called Street Survival,is intended to give teens the skills to deal with extreme conditions. These sessions are organized by the local BMW Car Club of America and staffed by volunteers, who ride with the teens as they go through maneuvers. Here teens accelerate and slam on the brakes, take curves too fast and make the car skid on a hosed-down parking lot--all to practice regaining control.

These new instructors believe that driving isn't about taking written tests; it's about psycho-motor skills. Classes place teen drivers and one parent inside a car on a motor track , while experts radio over instructions on how to brake at the vehicle's limit and swerve while retaining control. Students learn safe driving techniques and get plenty of behind-the-wheel training.

Drivers Education has a green side too- By training in hybrids, students complete thousands of miles of training but use less fuel and create fewer carbon emissions. More and more programs are using these vehicles with great success. High school students in Leon County , Florida's driver education programs are using hybrid vehicles to practice their skills behind the wheel. Six Toyota Prius' were bought by the Leon County Board of Commissioners for the programs; funded in part by traffic fines.

There is even fun driving class. Comedy Guys Entertainment combining a bunch of professional comedians and a defensive driving school. Approved by Texas Department of Public Safety, instruction is in-class work, done in fine restaurants with meals and refreshments included.

Meanwhile, many car insurance companies charge lower rates for teen drivers who have taken driver's education. That's one more reason it matters to make driver's education a significant part of a teen's coming of age.

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