National Teen Driving Safety Week
Developing students’ safe driving habits has always been a goal of the driver’s education program at Sycamore High School. Being defensive and maintaining a safe distance are two topics that students learn in class. But new drivers have a lot to learn — experience can help, and that’s one of the benefits of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law which allows students to phase into driving.
The GDL law was enacted in Illinois in 2008 and has since been enacted in all states. It begins with a six-month learners permit and 30-50 hours of supervised practice, which allows students to practice driving with a trusted adult before turning 16 years old. Once students complete their practice hours and take a driver’s education course, they are then eligible to receive their license when they turn 16.
Nighttime driving and passenger restrictions and a ban on all cell phone use remain in effect for new drivers until age 18. While these restrictions may seem strict, they have been associated with a reduction in driving fatalities.
In addition to the extra practice and restrictions of the GDL law, it is important for students to create healthy driving habits for themselves.
“Start good habits early, put your phone in a place where it is out of sight and out of mind,” said Andrew Stacy, driver’s education teacher at Sycamore High School. “Have your music already picked before driving, and don’t fall into peer pressure or show off around friends.”
One of Stacy's biggest teaching points during the class is for teens to be good defensive drivers and keep themselves out of risks and hazards.