Partners for Safe Teen Driving Training
The Partners for Safe Teen Driving program is now state law in Virginia’s Planning District 8, which includes Prince William, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington counties and the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, Falls Church, and Alexandria. The amendment to §22.1-205 requires parents/guardians and their student drivers to attend a 90-minute traffic safety program as part of the in-classroom portion of the driver education curriculum. This program requirement must be met before a student receives a Driver Education Certificate of Completion card (DEC-1 card).
As least one county has recorded a significant reduction in accidents involving teens since the program has been implemented. According to state data, teen drivers who have completed the Prince William County Schools (PWCS) driver education program have the lowest crash rate in Virginia. Fred Milbert, supervisor of Health, PE, Driver Education, JROTC, and Athletics for PWCS, credits this to the strong driver education program and the implementation six years ago of the Partners for Safe Teen Driving initiative.
“Statistics from 2009 show that for every 100 students who complete the Driver Education licensing process through the PWCS Driver Education Office, only 2.19 students have an accident in their first year as a driver. This compares to 8 percent of students and adults who learn to drive through commercial programs,” said Milbert, citing Virginia Department of Education statistics. “During the six years the program has been mandatory in Prince William County, teen crash rates have been reduced from 17 percent to the current 2.19 percent.”
The Partners for Safe Teen Driving Program, which served as the model for the state, teaches parents about current state driving laws, discusses techniques for coaching teens, empowers parents to assist their students in managing the high risk driving environment in our community, and offers other essential safety information.