Habits define you! There are good habits and bad ones.
In our last blog, we acknowledged that there have been many changes to the Permit process since us Parents went through the process. Today, we’ll take the next step and address the changes we’ve seen in the students skill sets once they begin Dr’s Ed. We will also discuss things that need addressed during the time they have their permit.
In today’s world, we have noticed some dramatic changes in students readiness to take their drive test.
It’s official; I and many other parents have hit the Generation Gap, otherwise known as the Technology Generation: Generation X (us) vs Generation Y AKA Millennials (our kids).
This Technology Generation is the generation of kids that have spent their entire lives doing different things than we did. They also have many skills we don’t have such as playing video games, computer/cell phone expertise and instantaneous awareness regarding social media. While acquiring these skills (with their heads buried in the phone), many of us parents can’t understand how we have made it to a ripe old age without the need for these so called non revenue producing talents. We tend to favor more of what we call basic skills. These would be sense of direction (north, south, east, west), basic mechanical knowledge/abilities, coordination to drive something/anything (a riding lawn mower) and understand basic physics without quoting Einstein. Most students today don’t know a car has engine oil (forget checking it or how and why you need to), know what a defroster is and what it looks like and why they may need to learn something as basic as changing a flat tire. This is due to our kids having significantly less outdoor time and quality travel time than us. This has created students that require a lot more education and time in order to be aware and safe drivers. WE came to our first day of Dr’s Ed already knowing this stuff and half of us could probably train somebody how to do it. Dr’s Ed was just a formality back in the day.
Gone are the days when families traveled and actually had educational conversations about life and various other topics. How many of your kids pull their heads out of their phones long enough to ask you about identifying different road conditions, how to get where we’re going, have a sense of urgency to get a drivers license, and want to grow up becoming independent? We are getting many students who’ve never driven anything in their life prior to coming to Drs Ed class. This is incomprehensible to me as an active child who had his first Honda cycle at 8 years old (a mini trail 50cc), worked on the farm operating machinery, drove go-carts/golf carts and counted down the days until I got my drivers license. With these generational differences, we have to take these things into consideration if we ever expect them to come home safe. Here are some recommendations you can do proactively and early so you don’t have a heart attack every time you give them your keys.
My #1 suggestion once your student gets their permit is to get them in the car daily. Take baby steps and pick a nice quiet area where your risk is minimized. Start with just 15 or 20 minutes.
You would be amazed how many students that don’t want to drive or are scared to drive. I think this generation hasn’t stood at a bus stop waiting for the school bus and are used to having mom take them everywhere. Some turn 16 but aren’t ready to grow up yet. I understand. I still sometimes long to see my mommy to. If you ride a school bus everyday or walk to places you need to be, you have more incentive to put your phone down and have more questions for mom and dad when you’re in the car. In many cases, they’re afraid to try because the know deep down it’s scary and they’re smart enough to know they can get hurt. I have asked students who’ve failed their drive test how often they drive with mom and dad. The most common answer is once or twice a week to once a month. They wander why they fail.
State Law requires students under 18 to drive a minimum of 50 hours during the six months they are required to have their permit. That’s 16.5 minutes/day. Really? Get them in the car.
Also, when they are not driving and are a passenger, make them put there phone away and make them tell you how to get to where you want to go. For example, something as simple as going downtown or going to the grocery store, movie theater, or their school. Once they master the basics, ask them to give you directions how to make it back to your house. You may be surprised and a bit disappointed. We feel this is connected directly with having their heads in the phone while mom and dad are driving. Observation is also a very stout learning tool. Use it and you’ll begin to see what we’re seeing and help us train your child together.
We understand the time demands on families but wanted to point out some of the common issues we see every day that we can learn from in communicating with our parents. Like we state in every Parent Meeting, we are bigger than getting a license because we are all about making safe decisions that will increase our odds of living a long time. This is why every student that attends our training program gets unlimited classroom time. They can come as many times as they need at NO CHARGE. This is also why the majority of our students take advantage of our heavily discounted packages that give their student 10-20 hours of behind the wheel training with us plus Defensive Driving. This is a very important time in our lives and the Most Important Class they’ll ever take. One wreck more than pays for our most premium Dr’s Ed package.
Stay tuned to see what we recommend next!
I have been in the commercial Drs Ed business since 2003. The biggest misconception that 90% of the public isn’t aware of is that students are legally eligible to begin their Drs Ed training the day they turn 15. (And always have been).
In the past, most waited until just before they turned 15 1/2 and then began to look for a place to start. Most parents remember taking Drs Ed in high school and getting their learners permit when they were 15 1/2. That’s all they remember. So that’s normally when they start to search for options for their children.
NOTE TO PARENTS: things have changed since we were in high school. Most public schools dropped Drs Ed when they quit getting free cars.
Until recently, students doing this were able to get their permit on time by getting enrolled in a commercial driving school or a public school program. As long as they were able to start their classroom training prior to turning 15 1/2, they were eligible to go take their written permit test and obtain their learners permit. Students under 18 are legally required to have their permit for 6 months before they are eligible to take the drive test. The Drs Ed requirement to take the drive test requires the course to be completed before they would be eligible to take it. So if a student has taken the 10 hours of classroom to get their permit, they have 6 months to complete the behind the wheel driving requirement of 6 hours to complete the course.
The NEW LAW we refer to as THE GOLDEN TICKET:
Effective November 1, 2012, students who have completed Drs Ed before getting a permit will have their written test waived when they go to DPS to get their permit.
They are still able to obtain their permit like the good ole days and obtain their permit by starting their classroom instruction before turning 15 1/2. They would be required to take the written test. (20 questions/multiple choice and score at least 75 to pass)
WHO WANTS TO DO THAT? Everybody wants to start driving ASAP and nobody wants to take the written test. DPS is attempting to shorten their lines and promote more driving. They passed this new law to reward people who practice driving more. It saves lives.
MY RECOMMENDATION is similar to the state’s. Start your training the day you turn 15 or shortly thereafter. This gives you 6 months to fit 3 – 2 hour drives into your schedule and earn your privilege of exempting out of your written permit test. After completing Drs Ed, you’ve proven worthy of obtaining a permit and have allowed the State DPS to shorten their ridiculously long lines by 30 minutes an applicant. The other benefit to this new law is that you’ve earned the trust of your parents to allow you to drive their car with less risk to damaging it. The more they let you drive, the better driver you will become. That’s our main goal as instructors, examiners and parents.
We SELL safety, Saving Everybody’s Lives Longterm!
Brad Finley (Owner)