Participation in driver education varies among states: study

Philadelphia – A recently released study of states that do not require formal driver’s education courses shows that more than one-third of students had not taken a formal driver’s education course before obtaining a license and more than half received no behind-the-wheel training, according to the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Young Driver Survey, which was administered to 5,665 public school students between 9th and 11th grade in spring 2006.

In all states, 78.8 percent of students reported participating in formal driver’s education courses. Among states with education requirements, rates of participation were more than 75 percent, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, academic performance or region. However, Hispanics, blacks, males and students with low academic achievements in states without requirements participated at “markedly lower levels” than counterparts in states with requirements.

The study was published online Feb. 13 in the journal Pediatrics.

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