Detroit Mom’s Guide to Teen Driver Education

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Detroit Mom partnered with the amazing people at Official Driving School to bring you this post. All opinions are our own.

Learning how to drive is one of the biggest and most exciting steps in a teenager’s life. As parents, we know this is an opportunity to support our child’s independence and growth. However, the process of properly preparing a teen to get behind the wheel can also come with a lot of questions and some trepidation. We’ve partnered with Official Driving School to provide detailed information and help ease your mind when it comes to teen driver education in the state of Michigan. We hope this post will help Michigan parents feel more confident sending their teenagers to a high quality driver education course when the time is right.

When can Michigan teenagers start driver education classes?

Michigan teens can start driver’s education courses when they are at least 14 years and eight months old. However, the experts at Official Driving School know that the process of preparing your teen to drive really starts long before that. Parents should be modeling good driving habits and engaging their tweens and teens in conversations about safe driving to set a positive example long before the formal driver’s education process begins.

What are some of the things teens learn in a driver education course?

There are two portions for Michigan driver’s education instruction: Segment One and Segment Two. 

Segment One driver education is offered before the driver begins supervised driving. It requires a minimum of 24 hours of classroom instruction, a minimum of six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, and a minimum of four hours of observation time in a training vehicle.

Segment Two is part of the state-mandated teen driver education process. It is a short, three-day course that covers defensive driving, accident prevention, and responsible decision making. Students can take this course after they have had a Level One license for a minimum of three months and completed 30 hours of driving (two of them at night) with any licensed driver, 21 years or older.

What are some of the biggest concerns when it comes to teen driving?

Distracted driving is a major concern for all drivers and it can be especially dangerous for teen drivers. Cell phone use while driving is the biggest culprit. Studies show that overall auto accidents involving cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle increased approximately 48% between 2016 and 2019. Fatal cell-phone related crashes increased 87.5% over the same time period. In Michigan in 2019, there were 2,798 motor vehicle crashes involving cell phone use while driving. This is up 48% from 1,888 crashes in 2016.

Coupled with inexperience and lack of driving skills, cell phone use can be especially deadly for teen drivers.

Because technology will change and new distractions will be introduced, parents need to make sure teens understand the value of engaged driving, where the driver is continuously attentive and focused.

Tell us about your new OFFICIAL Talks Program? 

Official Driving School recently launched OFFICIAL Talks, a state-wide initiative that partners with schools and organizations to promote safe teen driving through continued driver education and advocacy. This program is available to any interested Michigan school or organization at no cost.

Formal driver’s education only lasts a few weeks. Comprehensive driver’s education must be ongoing. Once teens come face to face with peer pressure, distractions, risk-taking opportunities and other challenges, we need to make sure they are making the right choices. We encourage families to watch this powerful video with our partner Gabe Hurley to learn more about the responsibilities that come with being behind the wheel and the consequences of distracted driving.

Through the OFFICIAL Talks program, the Official Driving School team will speak for FREE to any high school, community organization, youth group, etc. Presentations can be virtual or in person. For more information on booking an OFFICIAL Talk, visit the website.

What is the biggest thing parents can do to protect their kids on the road? 

The best thing you can do to support your teen for the rest of their lives is to make sure they get the benefits of formal driver’s education. In Michigan, there are a growing number of teens who are foregoing driver education and waiting until they are 18 or older to get their license. When that happens, none of these new drivers are getting any training whatsoever. They may know enough to pass a road test, but they haven’t learned most of the 30 hours of content Official Driving School covers with students. 

The second thing you can do is be a great example and trainer for your teen throughout the driver’s education process. Official Driving School drives with teens for 6 hours. Parents have to drive with their teens for 50 hours before they can get their full license. Those 50 hours are crucial. That is your opportunity to really drill in the habits and the skills that will stay with your teen when they start driving on their own.

Why should teens go through driver education? Why not wait until they’re a little older?

Mom and dad may be nervous about their teen learning to drive. However, there are numerous benefits to enrolling teens in a high-quality driver’s education course. This experience reinforces the importance of responsible behavior as teens learn about the risks and responsibilities that come with driving a car. We encourage families to watch this powerful video with our partner Gabe Hurley to learn more about the responsibilities that come with being behind the wheel. The experience of completing a driver’s education course and preparing to get a license is also a way to teach teens about taking the initiative, earning trust, and gaining independence–all great lessons for our kids as they approach adulthood!

What sets Official Driving School apart from other driver’s education programs?

The Official Driving School team has been teaching driver’s education for over 45 years. They teach over 20,000 new drivers every year. There are over 70 Official Driving School locations throughout the state of Michigan. Teen and adult programs are fully certified by the state of Michigan. Highly-qualified instructors complete rigorous training and background checks. When it comes to experience and quality, Official Driving School is the best of the best.

Why should parents choose Official Driving School for their teenagers?

Our core purpose is always top of mind: to teach students how to drive while making the experience important and enjoyable. We hear from families over and over again that the Official Driving School team made the process of preparing their teen to obtain their license easy. This is because of our clear communication, qualified instructors, and top-of-the-line curriculum. 

Other differentiators from other Michigan driving schools: 

  • Provides safe and clean cars
  • Locations close to home
  • In-person and Zoom classes available
  • Easy-to-use app to schedule drives with instructors
  • Customer service team dedicated to making the process smooth and easy

How can I learn more about enrolling my teen in Official Driving School?

Head to the Official Driving School website to sign up and learn more about Official Driving School. Detroit Mom readers will receive 10% off of a Segment One class at Official Driving School by using the code DMOMS. Must sign up by June 1, 2022. 

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