It’s one of the first big milestones in every teenager’s life. Getting your Driver’s license! Everyone wants to be the first among their friends to pull into the school parking lot behind the wheel of what is probably mom’s car. My youngest sister literally spends ten minutes a day having an anxiety attack because she is the only one left in her group of friends that doesn’t have her license yet. But driving is a big responsibility and it shouldn’t be rushed. There are too many stories of teen driver’s killed in accidents that could have been prevented. Every year over 5,000 teenagers die as a result of car accidents, and another 400,000 are seriously injured.
In this 2008 story three Lanse Creuse students were killed in a crash in Chesterfield township. The story is still being played out in court and is a reminder of the way a simple ride with friends can become tragic.
Michigan is on the forefront in reducing teenage driving accidents. The Michigan Graduated Driver’s License system is designed to educate and supervise young drivers to reduce accidents. The system has three segments, which gives teens restricted driving privileges until age 17.
Segment 1: Driver’s Training
To pass this stage, the driver needs to attend at least 24 hours of driver education classes, log at least 6 hours behind the wheel with an instructor, and at least 4 hours of in car observation. This can be done in the public school system or at a private driver education course. The driver needs to be at least 14 years and 8 months old to begin this stage.
After this stage, the driver is given a supervised learner license. They can drive, but only with a licensed adult in the car. During this stage the driver must log at least 30 hours of supervised driving over three months.
Segment 2: Defensive Driving
To pass this stage, the driver needs to be at least 16 years old, attend at least 6 hours of defense driver training, pass a written examination, log at least 50 hours of supervised driving, with 10 night hours, and pass a driver’s skill test.
After this stage, the driver is given an intermediate learner license. They can drive alone, but unsupervised night time driving is limited.
Segment 3: Full Driver Privilege
After completion of the first two stages, reaching 17 years old, and not having any accidents the driver will have full driver privileges to drive unsupervised.
For a full chart on the Graduated License System, click Michigan Graduated License System