New research suggests that some Michigan teens could benefit from driver education classes that incorporate visits to intensive care units and morgues. The Texas Reality Education for Drivers program is one example of an education supplement that provides interactive, reality-based instruction for teens with poor driving records. A Baylor University study has shown that this program in particular increases risk awareness and can help improve driving behavior.
There were 21 teen participants in the study group. In a questionnaire, most admitted that they had texted while driving on a highway or interstate within the past 30 days. Some were referred to the program by a court or school administrator; others were enrolled by their parents.
The participants of the RED program were guided through a hospital’s emergency rooms, ICU and morgue and had talks with health care staffers who deal with crash victims. In addition, there were videos, lectures and discussions. By the end of the program, the participants had a renewed sense of the dangers of speeding and of the role of peer pressure in drinking and driving.
Parents also became more involved after the program, setting additional driving rules and laying down the consequences of rule-breaking. They were also less likely to enforce those consequences, which could mean that teens were following the rules.
However, increased risk awareness does not always translate to safer driving. A car accident victim can consult with a lawyer about filing a claim against the negligent party. The lawyer could hire experts to prove the other’s guilt and then negotiate for a settlement out of court. If the auto insurance agency refuses to pay out, the victim could litigate.