Arizona parents get a study guide on driver's education - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Arizona parents get a study guide on driver's education

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Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 2:52 pm

Teaching your teen to drive is a complex task. And with driver’s education programs quickly dwindling from schools, it’s one that many parents have to undertake on their own. Fortunately, there are a number of resources available to help families through the learning to drive process.

Many parents are curious about when to start teaching their teen to drive. This depends on your teen’s interest. In recent years, there has been a decrease in the number of teens getting their licenses once they are eligible. For this reason, AAA recommends an initial discussion as teens approach permit age. For those who are ready to start at this time, AAA’s free workshop, Permit Prep 101, prepares families and helps teens through the process.

Car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths, killing more teens each year than drugs, alcohol and suicide combined. As such, new drivers need a solid foundation behind the wheel. Many parents spend money for teens to be active, whether playing sports or participating in extracurricular activities. During the learning-to-drive process, AAA urges parents to consider investing in quality driver education.

It’s important to find a quality school—one that focuses on developing safe driving habits—instead of a school that is in expensive, most convenient or focused solely on your teen passing the driving test. Here are some tips to help select a driving school:

• Ask around. See if there is a school in your area that still offers driver’s education. Also, ask friends and neighbors about programs they’ve used.

• Call schools. Ask specific questions about their operations, curriculum and training vehicles and request references.

• Visit schools. Ask to sit in on a session, take a look at the vehicles and student materials.

• Do your homework. Make sure the school has a clean report from the Better Business Bureau, instructors are certified with the MVD and that the school is in good financial standing. These are just a few of the stringent standards that AAA Approved Driving Schools ( must adhere to.

• Consider alternatives. At-home options can also help teens strengthen their skills behind the wheel as well. teenSMART, for example, is a computer program that will make your teen a safer driver, and can help save money when you add them to your insurance policy.

AAA encourages parents and teens not to pass up the critical chance to learn driving skills from a professional. Having a pro teach your teen basic driving skills will make the road ahead of you a lot less stressful.

Linda Gorman is the director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. She can be reached at Visit to learn about AAA’s teen driver and traffic safety resources.

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