16 year old driver

Winnebago School Board Says Driver’s Ed Is A Privilege, Not A Right

Drawing on a tactic long used by parents to influence their teenager’s actions, schools are now dangling the car keys in front of students as a motivator. The Winnebago school board in Illinois has decided to place a bit of extra responsibility on its sophomore students, letting their grades decide if they are eligible to take a school sponsored driver education program.

Following in the footsteps of other regulations within the district applying to sports and other activities, students must now maintain a 2.0 grade point average in order to participate in the school’s driver education program. Placement in these classes is highly sought after, as they cost half of what instruction at a private driver’s education course would.

This restriction adds to the ever-growing list of laws and regulations regarding teenage drivers, frustrating students a bit. However, the additional monitoring and responsibility will only lower the risks related to the youngest of drivers.

Some of the other laws, besides the new grade requirements, include:

  • Cell phones may not be used while driving.
  • Drivers may not have more than one unrelated passenger under the age of 20 in their vehicle within the first 6 months of being licensed.
  • Teen drivers must be off the roads before 11 pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends.

All of these regulations have been put in place to reduce the accident rate among teenage drivers. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studies show that the accident rate per mile for drivers under twenty years old is four times that of an experienced driver. The youngest of these drivers, at sixteen years old, are involved in twice the number of accidents as the eighteen and nineteen year old drivers.

The Winnebago school district has already passed this plan within their own district, however it is not finalized for next fall as of yet. Since the Illinois State Board of Education rules are more relaxed, they must apply for a waiver to tougher their own school’s restrictions. Once this waiver is approved, the plan will start in the school year immediately following.

Create your own customized Teen Driving Contract online based on the core principles of the Driver Education Handbook for Parents and Florida’s Graduated Licensing laws.