First Daughter Malia Obama will be learning to drive this summer! She’ll turn 16 and be able to get behind the wheel on Independence Day, an appropriate day for this major milestone. But who’s going to be giving Malia Obama driving lessons? Not the President or the First Lady.
“I think our agents don’t want us driving with teenagers,” said Michelle Obama on the Tonight Show. “Especially the President’s detail. I don’t think they want him in the state when she’s learning how to drive. We will fortunately be able to hand that responsibility over to someone else.”
Besides keeping the nation’s Commander in Chief out of peril, there are many good reasons for Malia to take driving lessons with a professional instructor instead of with her parents.
The requirements for teen drivers in the District of Columbia aren’t very strict. If you’re 16 years old, in order to earn a learners permit, all you have to do is pass the knowledge test and have parental permission. To get a provisional license after 6 months, all you have to do is practice for 40 hours with a licensed driver 21 years or older and pass the road skills test.
But even though a formal drivers education course and behind-the-wheel training aren’t required to earn a D.C. drivers license, it’s still a really good idea to take a course with licensed professionals. Proper education and training can make teens safer and better drivers in the long run.
According a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Oregon, teens who completed a formal drivers education course became safer drivers than teens who only practiced with their parents. Teens who completed the drivers ed course had lower crash rates, fewer traffic convictions, and fewer license suspensions.
And research conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute shows that teens who learn from professional driving instructors are almost 3 times less likely to be in a serious crash compared to teens who learn to drive with their parents.
So even though Michelle jokes that residents of Washington, D.C. should “look out” for Malia Obama driving, we’re not too worried. We’re pretty sure the White House teen will get the professional training she needs to become a safe and skilled driver.
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It might not be obvious, but it’s true: DriversEd.com is green. How can a driving school can be green? Well, we know that driving can be a necessity, but we also care about the preserving the planet we live on. That’s why we provide environmentally friendly drivers ed courses. We reduce waste wherever and whenever possible. We teach and encourage people to be safe, responsible, and conscientious drivers and car owners.
Here are some of the ways we strive to reduce our impact on the environment.
1. Our courses are paperless.
Did you know that 4 billion trees are cut down every year to produce paper? DriversEd.com’s online courses are entirely paper-free: no textbooks, no worksheets. And in Texas, we’ve switched to using electronic contracts, so that’s even more paper saved.
The only paper you’ll get from us is your Certificate of Completion once you pass your course. And for some courses, we’ll even send that electronically as well. Go paperless with us!
2. Our online courses mean less gas consumption.
With our online drivers education and traffic school courses, you don’t have to commute back and forth from class. Instead, you can stay right where you are log in any time, on any device. Just think of how much less gas you’ll burn—not to mention how much time and money you’ll save!
3. Our in-car training vehicles are fuel efficient.
We use BMW Mini Coopers and Countryman cars for all our driving lessons. These training vehicles get great fuel economy (with great handling and precise steering, too!).
The Cooper gets 29 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. The Countryman, with 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, is slightly less efficient but still gets excellent mileage for a typical SUV. So when you learn to drive with us, you can feel good about burning less gas.
4. We walk, ride bikes, and take public transportation to work.
Even though we all know how to drive, lots of us here at DriversEd.com choose other ways of getting to work.
Located in downtown Oakland, the DriversEd.com headquarters are easily accessible by public transit, bicycle, and foot. Our office even has an indoor bike rack for those of us who commute by bicycle (including yours truly).
Just because we can drive doesn’t mean we always do. And you don’t have to either! We hope that more people embrace public transportation, carpool when possible, and drive responsibly and efficiently. And for those who don’t drive yet, take an environmentally friendly drivers ed course with us!
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Are you and your car ready for springtime driving? Make sure your car is in tip-top shape: follow these spring car maintenance tips from the California Department of Insurance to stay safe on the road this season! And while you’re at it, refresh your knowledge of road rules and signs too!
Spring into Action on Vehicle Maintenance
From the California Department of Insurance
April was National Car Care month and California Low Cost Auto encourages drivers to conduct essential vehicle maintenance to prepare for the spring driving season.
Spring Cleaning. The holidays can lead to a buildup of clutter in your car. Unloading your car removes unnecessary weight and improves gas mileage. Winter wear and tear will also affect the outside of your vehicle. Salt and dirt from the High Sierra roads will collect on the body of your car causing scratches and rust. Selecting additional options at a car wash or paying special attention to the undercarriage will help eliminate these issues.
Prepare for Spring Showers. April showers bring May flowers so check your windshield wipers. Look for cracks or poor contact on your car’s windshield. If the wiper blades skip, streak, split or squeak, they should be replaced immediately. Proper working wipers are crucial during spring downpours for the safety of you and your passengers.
Measure Tire Pressure. Warm temperatures increase tire pressure so you should measure the pressure regularly as the temperature rises. Check to see if all tires, including the spare, are inflated properly and balanced. The inside of the car door lists the correct tire pressure for the make and model of your vehicle. Keeping tires at the optimal pressure helps the tires last longer, saves on fuel and enhances the handling of your vehicle.
Suspension and Wheel Alignment. Hazards such as cracks and deep potholes in the roadways can compromise shocks and wheel alignment. This spring have a certified mechanic inspect your suspension and wheel alignment to ensure a smooth, safe ride.
Inspect Brake System. The spring season can unleash cloudbursts of rain and strong brakes are vital for safety on wet roads. You should inspect the entire brake system including lines, hoses, parking brake and brake fluid.
Batteries, Plugs and Wires, Oh my! Forget to turn off your car lights? Forgetfulness combined with temperature changes can stress electrical components and weaken performance. Test and replace old batteries, plugs and wires, especially if they are more than three years old.
Comprehensive spring maintenance on a vehicle helps improve safety, but does not eliminate all driving dangers. Auto insurance is the best way to prepare for potential hazards. Accidents happen and car insurance is the law. California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance is a state-sponsored program that offers affordable insurance for residents who qualify. In March, more than 1,000 Californians signed up for the program, helping decrease the number of uninsured motorists on the road. See if you qualify for low cost automobile insurance on mylowcostauto.com.
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Are you a new driver? If you’ve just earned your Ohio driver’s license, you should enter the “I Hold the Key to a Safer Ohio” contest! Held by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), this new contest was launched to promote safe driving among new drivers. All you have to do is submit a short paragraph and a photo for chance to be a featured driver and score a free keychain. Enter this Ohio BMV contest now!
Am I eligible to enter the contest?
If you’re a newly licensed Ohio driver, you can enter this contest. If you’re not a licensed driver yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up for drivers education now to start earning your license!
How do I enter?
- Snap a photo of yourself holding your car keys.
- Write a brief summary of how you will commit to driving safely and how you hold the key to a safer Ohio.
- Email your picture and your summary to Communications@dps.state.oh.us. That’s it!
What can I win?
If you’re selected, you’ll be featured on the BMV’s official website, on the BMV’s Facebook page, and in Deputy Registrars across Ohio. You’ll also receive a special keychain from the BMV!
When is the deadline?
There is no deadline. Winners are selected 4 times a year, so enter anytime.
What’s the purpose of the contest?
Last year, 157,000 teens between the ages of 15 and 17 earned their first drivers license. This new Ohio BMV contest was created to encourage young drivers to commit to being safe drivers, making all of Ohio safer.
More details are available here.
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Last month at DriversEd.com, we broke the exciting news about the release of our new online Ohio drivers education course. But since then, there’s been a bit of confusion and misguided doubt about what exactly that means for students and Ohio driving schools.
Simply put, we created an online course to expand access to drivers education in Ohio. This means more teens in Ohio taking drivers education and becoming safer, licensed drivers.
Want to know more? Here’s a rundown of the situation.
Q: What’s the difference between drivers education and in-car training?
A: Drivers education is a course that teaches you the rules of the road, vehicle safety, and everything else you need to know to pass your written permit test and be ready to start your in-car training.
In-car training is the behind-the-wheel driving lessons you take with a licensed driving instructor.
Anyone under 18 who wants to earn an Ohio drivers license has to complete the following requirements:
- 24 hours of drivers education
- 8 hours of in-car training with a driving professional instructor
- 50 hours of supervised driving (10 of those hours must be at night) with a parent or guardian
Traditionally, drivers education and in-car training were all done at a single school: a high school or a private driving school. But recent changes have expanded options for Ohio teens, making drivers education much more accessible.
Q: What are my options for drivers education?
A: Ohio lawmakers passed a bill last year that allows teens to complete their drivers education entirely online. So now you can choose to meet your drivers education requirement by taking a traditional classroom course or a new online Ohio drivers education course!
DriversEd.com is one of the three schools currently offering an online drivers education course approved by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
With online Ohio drivers education, now you can move to the driving school of your choice for your required in-car driving lessons.
Q: If I take Ohio drivers education online, how do I take in-car lessons?
A: It’s simple: you can pick any local driving school for your in-car driving lessons!
Q: Can online drivers education really be as effective as a classroom course?
DriversEd.com’s online courses have even been proven to reduce DUIs and traffic violations in a 2011 study conducted by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Drivers education is strictly regulated in Ohio, and our course passed an extensive review process by the Ohio Department of Public Safety before it was approved. The content of our online Ohio drivers education course meets all the same requirements as classroom courses.
Q: What impact will online Ohio drivers education have on teen drivers?
A: Drivers education is required for anyone under 18 who wants to earn an Ohio drivers license.
In the past, teens who had trouble fitting a traditional classroom course into their busy schedules would just wait until they turned 18 to earn their license. That meant skipping drivers education and in-car training altogether.
With the flexible online option, teens with hectic schedules can take drivers education at their own pace on their own time. That means more students getting access to drivers education and training, and more prepared drivers hitting the road.
Q: How does online drivers education affect local driving schools? Will it really take away jobs?
A: Absolutely not. DriversEd.com doesn’t compete with local Ohio driving schools. In fact, we complement them.
Teens under 18 who complete our online Ohio drivers education course are still required to complete in-car training. All our students who are under 18 will also be taking in-car training at a local Ohio driving school.
Providing a flexible online option actually encourages more teens to take drivers education. That means more teens will be signing up for in-car lessons, creating more business and more jobs for local Ohio driving schools.
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Ohioans between 18 and 20 years old who don’t drive yet may soon be required to complete drivers education before earning a drivers license. A teen driving bill in the Ohio State House was amended earlier this week to include the provision that would require Ohio drivers education for anyone under 21.
If it passes, the bill would affect thousands of young drivers, who are the most at risk for car crashes. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that young drivers represent a disproportionately high amount of traffic deaths in the United States. Drivers under 20 make up only 6% of all licensed drivers but are involved in 19% of all fatalities in the country.
According to Ohio Department of Public Safety, drivers 16-17 years old are at fault in 71% of crashes in Ohio. Drivers 18-20 years old are at fault in 66.7% of crashes.
Currently, Ohio drivers education is required only for teen drivers under 18. Drivers education courses play a crucial role in educating young drivers about traffic laws and safe driving techniques.
If the teen driving bill passes, it would make Ohio similar to other states where drivers education is required for drivers over 18. In Texas, adults 18-24 are required to complete a 6-hour adult drivers ed course. In Florida, all first-time drivers are required to complete a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course.
The bill would also tighten restrictions on new and probationary drivers. Drivers who have had their license for less than one year would not be allow to drive with passengers under 21 who are not family members. (Currently one nonfamily member of any age is allowed to ride with new drivers.) The curfew for probationary drivers would change from midnight to 10 a.m.
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Great news for teens in Ohio: You can now take drivers education 100% online! We are excited to announce the release of our state-approved Ohio drivers ed online course. It’s the best and most convenient way to start earning your license!
In the past, classroom courses were the only way to complete drivers education in Ohio. But now, you have a better option: take our fun and effective online course! Sign up for Ohio drivers ed online and get started today.
- Official DPS-approved Ohio drivers ed online
- Convenient 24/7 online course access
- Study on your mobile, tablet, or desktop
- 50 free Ohio BMV practice permit tests included
- Certificate of Enrollment and Certificate of Completion mailed for free
Easy Online Access
Our flexible online course puts you in charge of the learning process. With 24/7 online access, you get to learn on your own schedule, not someone else’s. Just log in on any Internet-connected mobile, tablet, or desktop device!
And, unlike with classroom courses, you don’t have to worry about missing any critical information. You can always return to our course to review the material as much as you want.
Fun, Interactive Lessons
Our interactive course is the best way to learn the rules of the road and prepare for your BMV written permit test! We’ve designed this course especially for new teen drivers. Our lessons are fun and easy to understand, with tons of quizzes, movies, and 3-D animated case studies to help you remember the material.
The course also includes 50 free Ohio BMV practice permit tests, so you’ll be more than ready for the written permit test!
Ohio DPS Approved
DriversEd.com is licensed by the Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS). With our online course, you’ll meet the DPS drivers ed requirement and get ready for the driver’s seat.
Once you complete the first two hours of the Ohio drivers ed online course, you’ll get your Certificate of Enrollment. You can take this certificate to any driving school to start taking your in-car driving lessons! At the end of the online course you’ll also get an official BMV-accepted Certificate of Completion.
Online drivers education may be brand-new to Ohio, but we’ve been perfecting our online courses for drivers since 1997. Studies show that online courses are just as effective as classroom courses. Our high-quality online courses are even proven to reduce DUIs and violations. Our curriculum covers the same information as classroom courses, but we do it in a fun, exciting way that helps you understand and remember the information!
Learn with the Best
DriversEd.com has been teaching teens to drive safely for over 25 years. Our drivers ed courses are approved in 14 other states, and we are the only driving school in the country that is both approved by the Road Safety Educators’ Association and accredited by the Driving School Association of the Americas.
We’ve helped over 6 million students become safe, confident drivers. Learn how to drive with the best: sign up for Ohio drivers ed online!
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NHTSA Releases RoboCop Drunk Driving PSA
Bet you didn’t know that RoboCop has a fifth directive now: to stop drunk drivers. Police are cracking down on drunk driving until the end of the holiday season. And RoboCop is helping the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration (NTHSA) get the message out: Drive sober or get pulled over.
Collisions caused by drunk driving increase during this time of year, making it one of the most dangerous periods to be on the road. Last year, over 830 people died from drunk driving collisions during the holidays. Young, inexperienced drivers who have just earned their license are particularly at risk of dying in alcohol-related collisions.
Make Plans to Prevent Drunk Driving
Do your part to protect the innocent and uphold the law. If you’re going out for New Year’s Eve, make your plans in advance. Pick a designated driver, reserve a cab, or arrange to stay over. If you see your friends about to make a terrible decision, talk them out of it.
- Pick a designated driver in advance.
- Take a cab or public transportation.
- Find a safe ride program and keep their number in your phone.
- Don’t let your friends drive drunk.
- Report drunk drivers.
Getting a Safe Ride Home
If you do get stuck in a jam without a sober ride home, many AAA clubs around the country are providing rides to both members and non-members on New Year’s Eve as part of a Holiday Safe Ride Program.
You might have seen Facebook posts about AAA’s “Tipsy Tow”, but it’s not actually a nationwide service, so check to see if the program is available in your area. But even if AAA doesn’t serve your area, you can probably still find a safe ride program near you.
Drive safe and sober, and have a happy new year!
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Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about people taking the art of smartphone self-portraiture to completely new and awkward places. Selfies at funerals, the 9/11 Memorial, or Auschwitz? Yikes. Apparently, no setting is too private or sacred to serve as the background for a cheesy self portrait. And now people are even taking driving selfies and sharing them on Instagram and Twitter.
It may not be in the best taste to ham for the camera when you’re standing in front of a casket or the site of a devastating loss of human lives. But posing for a selfie when you’re operating a 2000-pound steel vehicle isn’t just potentially tasteless—it’s dangerous.
AAA Mid-Atlantic published a news release last month to warn of the dangers of taking pictures or making videos while driving. John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs, said:
The number one activity that should be occurring while you are behind the wheel is driving. Hundreds of thousands of people are injured each year as a result of distracted driving and these injuries and deaths are entirely preventable. Put the camera down and wait until you arrive at a safe destination. Don’t let that driving selfie or video be the last photo you ever take.
It can feel like no big deal to whip out the camera for just a second, but it actually is a big deal. And it’s not worth it. Let’s take a look at the numbers to see just how dangerous driving selfies or taking any photos while driving can be. If you take a 2-second photo while driving at 60 mph, your car will travel almost 2 times the length of a basketball course while your attention is off the road. In the time it takes you to shoot just a 6-second video, your car would travel 1.5 times the length of a football field.
So, if you happen to catch a glimpse of your reflection while you’re driving and decide you want to document your perfect hair day to share with the world, wait until you’ve arrived at your destination. Until then, it’s best to toss your phone in the backseat and just focus on the drive.
And if you’ve just finished your driving lessons and passed your driving test, it’s understandable that you’d want to show off to your friends with a celebratory driving selfie. But instead of risking your new drivers license and your safety by pulling out your phone while you’re on the road, just snap a photo while you’re still parked in the driveway with the engine off.
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Don’t let a mistake behind the wheel ruin your holiday. Follow these important tips for safe Thanksgiving driving.
Check Road Conditions
There’s some nasty weather brewing on the East Coast! Before you leave, check traffic and weather conditions so you can prepare for wind, rain, snow, sleet, or whatever you might encounter on your way.
Check the Distractions
Don’t forget to put the devices away. If you’re using your smartphone for directions, then set it up before you start the engine, or ask a passenger to use their phone and take over the navigating duties.
If you’re traveling with kids, make sure they’re all properly strapped in and occupied before you start your trip so you won’t get distracted by any backseat emergencies.
No Drunk Driving
Make sure your group decides on a designated driver. If you’re the only driver and you intend to have a few drinks, make sure to stop early enough so you can sober up before you get in the car. If all else fails, ask your gracious hosts if you can crash on the couch.
No Drowsy Driving
Get plenty of sleep before your trip so you’ll be ready for a full day of driving. Chugging coffee, blasting the stereo, and cranking up the A/C don’t always work. So, if you start to feel sleepy while you’re driving, pull over to the side of the road to rest, or switch off with someone else.
Even if you do catch a full night’s sleep, you still might feel like sawing logs after you’ve carved the turkey. If you do fall into a food coma after eating, wait until it’s passed before you get in the car.
If you’re find yourself running late, you may be tempted to put the pedal to the metal to transport yourself toward that roast turkey a little faster. But remember that 43 million other people are going to be out on Thanksgiving driving. Speeding isn’t a good idea when the roads are congested and weather is bad (or even when they’re not). You don’t want to end up spending your holiday in the ICU or taking a traffic school course for a speeding ticket.
I’m definitely going to be wearing my elastic waist pants this Thursday. Don’t deny it—many of you will be doing the same. After gobbling up a sumptuous and bountiful meal, you might think that strapping yourself in with a seat belt is a bit uncomfortable.
Well, not to get too graphic or anything, but wearing a seat belt is definitely not as uncomfortable as getting thrown through a windshield. Seat belts save lives. Be sure to wear yours this weekend.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everybody!