Thursday, March 17, 2011

Home School Parents Could Teach Kids to Drive

(Where are your car keys, dad?)

10 and 2: I sat in on the debate in the Iowa house on whether home school parents should be able to teach their kids to drive, instead of having training drivers education instructors do it. Kim Pearson, the freshman house Republican from Pleasant Hill, lead the house debate. She has been a home school educator herself, which actually set up a pretty interesting discussion with one of the Democrats, Curt Hanson, of Fairfield. He taught drivers' education for 43 years.

As you might predict here, Pearson believes home school parents should be well-qualified to teach their kids to drive, while Hanson thinks people trained for the job, like himself, would be better teachers. He brought up the point that methods and rules change, and parents don't always keep up with them. I must say as a new parent (one who is now nearly 14 years from beginning the process of teaching Hayden how to drive--GULP!), I was surprised by something Hanson said. To prove his case, he said instructors used to say to keep your hands at "10 and 2" on the wheel (picture it like the hands on a clock at 10 and 2 o'clock). But he said they haven't taught that for years. Really? I asked around in the newsroom and people here were as surprised as I was. Apparently, according to Hanson, young drivers learn to hold their hands at "8 and 4" now. Here's why: Hanson said it's all because of the invention of airbags. He said at 10 and 2, when the airbags activate during a crash, your hands might fly back and hit you in the face. But at 8 and 4, your hands would fly back lower than your head. Hmmm...never thought of that.

As far as the debate goes, the house passed it easily. Now it goes to the senate. But senators had already talked about a similar measure earlier this session and shot it down. So it's not likely to have much of a chance the second time around. 8 and 4, everyone.

The Pepsi Challenge: Coke is the country's top selling soft drink. But Diet Coke just passed Pepsi for number 2. An Associated Press story says 4 of the top 10 soft drinks on the list are diets. How are we still so fat then? Or is this a sign of progress?

For the record, I'm a Coke Zero guy, which didn't make the list. Of course, finding restaurants or convenience stores that sell it, is a tall order.


King of SNARK said...

Personally, I believe getting, and maintaining, a driver's license needs to be more difficult for every age group.

I'm old enough to remember when people went for a drive to relax.

Especially on Sunday.

When I was in radio, the was a fellow disc jockey who I wouldn't ride in a car that he drove.

He had a pilot's license and I didn't have any qualms about flying with him, after I drove to the airport, because I knew how much harder it was to obtain a pilot's license versus a driver's license.

If certified instructors are the only way to go, why did a U.S News & World Report article investigating national teen driving safety, Iowa ranks 49th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In Iowa, teens (ages 14-19) have a higher fatality rate in motor vehicle crashes than any other age group.

Motor vehicle crashes are the cause of nearly half of all teen deaths in Iowa.

If parents can improve on those statistics, GREAT!

I'm not so sure 8 & 4 is all the rage.

Some police departments stress the 9 & 3 position, as does The American Automobile Association (AAA).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn't back any one grip over another.

Shane Vander Hart said...

King of SNARK brings up some good point...

Also missed is that the law requires parents to utilize approved curriculum for it.

Homeschooling parents do like to prepare for subjects they teach their kids.

Anonymous said...

I would not mind seeing the driver's test becoming more difficult. That way, the children who go through the drivers ed program with teachers who are more concerned about their paycheck than the children's ultimate safety, increasing car insurance, and actual mastery of the skill would fail and fail and fail. My son, however, will pass because - whether the law passes or not - will learn to drive from his parents. The class is a formality and a government forced expense.