Although car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, new drivers are not required by law to take a driver’s education course in Missouri. As with many states, teenagers only need to satisfy the requirements of the graduated driver license program rather than undergo a concentrated course. However, new research suggests that teens who opt to take a class could avoid both injuries and jail time.

Teens Who Skip Driver’s Education Have More Crashes, Injuries, and Convictions

A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that teenagers who participated in dedicated driver’s education courses received many benefits from the experience compared to their peers who received licenses without class instruction. Researchers used survey results, licensing tests, driver simulations, and public driving records and found significant differences between the two groups of teen drivers, such as:

Number of crashes.

Drivers who took a driver’s education course had their overall crash risks reduced by 4.3 percent, resulting in fewer injuries and damage costs for teens and their families.

Number of convictions.

Teens who completed basic requirements only were not only more likely to be ticketed for moving violations, they also were 40 percent likelier to be convicted of serious driving offenses.

Higher test scores.

Graduates of driver’s education courses overwhelmingly scored higher on driving exams than their peers, but also demonstrated other increases in knowledge over teens who did not take the course.

Other Reasons to Consider Driver’s Education Training for Your Teen

The difference between signing up for driver’s education and opting out can be dramatic in serious crashes. Remember, each time your child is involved in a crash, your insurance will likely be raised—and the more points a teenager has on his license, the less able he will be to pick up younger siblings from school or run errands on the weekend.

Even if a driver’s education course is not required for your child to obtain a Missouri driver’s license, you may want to enroll him in an independent program. Click through our related links find out what else you need to know before letting your child behind the wheel.

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