Caution New Driver

ARE WE THERE YET? - Back Seat Driver (The Freeman) - October 18, 2015 - 10:00am

A couple of weeks ago, I made an appeal to include driving school in our academic curriculum.  Aside from the practicality of integrating this with their technical-vocational program, we badly need a much better driver education program.  When was the last time you drove on a stretch of road without passing a vehicle that had a huge “Caution New Driver” sticker or piece of paper attached to a strategically terrible place on the car’s rear window, critically obstructing the newbie driver’s rearview?  Something like this makes you stop and think; why do they need to post such signs on their vehicles?  And why didn’t anyone ever tell them that what they’re doing is not safe?

With the growing number of newbies taking to the road hiding behind these useless stickers, in false comfort I might add, one would wonder if these so-called “accredited” driving schools are churning out sub-par graduates that are ill-prepared to tackle the conditions of the road.  Why would one find it necessary to place a “caution: new driver” sticker if they have been deemed qualified by a “certified” driving school to be an eligible driver?  Have you ever seen such a sticker on an aircraft whenever a newly graduated airline pilot would take the helm?  I wonder how safe his passengers would feel if he had a similar sticker plastered on the side of a commercial airline.

Anyone who goes through driving school, should be more than qualified to take to the road, and must have the confidence and skills to match any veteran driver.  But what is causing this increase in unqualified licensed drivers?  Is it the fact that driving schools have this badly skewed belief that 10 hours of practical learning is enough for all students?  Is it possible that these “professional” driving schools are not really as qualified to teach and educate students as they thought they were?

If one were to go through the comments section of a website of one of these so-called “best” driving academies, you will cringe at the replies to the queries they get.  For example, there is a query that reads, “I have a license with a restriction code of 1 (motorcycles/motorized tricycles only), may I already enroll in your driving school, or must I secure a student’s permit?”  The driving school’s official reply goes like this, “Yes, that’s ok for practice. You can enroll for driving classes. But you need to upgrade your license once you drive your own car.”  Really?  Isn’t that wrong to begin with?  Telling a person who is only licensed to drive a motorcycle or motorized tricycle that he can enroll in their driving school and drive a four-wheeled vehicle with a license that does not qualify him to do so?  Even if they advised him to change his restriction once he drives his own car, the fact alone that they do not educate the prospect about the proper way to go about it (by changing restrictions first to ensure that he would be legally eligible to drive a four-wheeled vehicle) makes you suspect that these “professional” driving schools are not really qualified to educate anyone.

There are other queries and replies in these driving schools’ websites that will make your jaw drop beyond the planes of hell.  But one thing’s for certain, professional these driving schools are not.  Educated on the fine art of teaching prospects how to drive safely, properly, confidently and skillfully, these instructors sorely lack.  I push for the reevaluation of the accreditation of these so-called “professional” driving schools.  These institutions and their instructors are far from qualified to assess whether someone is fit, qualified and ready to take to the streets.

The only thing I believe these “driving schools are good at, are suckering people into letting go of 5,000 bucks for training and education that is just as real as an honest, straight-arrow land transportation office employee.


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