- Report Published -
|Senate Document No. 9|
PUBLICATION YEAR 2008
|Executive Summary of the Joint Subcommittee Studying Revision of the Curriculum for Driver Training Programs|
|Division of Legislative Services, Joint Subcommittee|
|SJR 378 (Regular Session, 2007)|
|The Committee held two meetings: the first on June 26, 2007, in the General Assembly Building, and the second on September 18, 2007, again in the General Assembly Building. The Joint Subcommittee's mandate under SJR 378 (2007) expired on November 30, 2007. |
The Joint Subcommittee was charged with evaluating the curriculum used by school-based and commercial driving schools; surveying other states to identify innovative approaches to driver training; and considering the appropriateness of the curriculum for new adult drivers, especially those for whom English is a second language.
At the first meeting of the 2007 interim, there were three presenters: Ms. Karen Grim, the Assistant Commissioner of Driver, Vehicle, and Data Management for the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles; Ms. Vanessa Wigand, the Principal Specialist for Driver Education, Health Education and Physical Education for the Virginia Department of Education; and Ms. Daniel Roeber of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Ms. Grim provided the Joint Subcommittee with an overview of Virginia's current driver's license requirements and licensing requirements for commercial driving schools wishing to operate in the Commonwealth. She informed the subcommittee that the commercial course content is identical to the curriculum followed by the school divisions and during the 2005-2006 school year, 39% of students completing a driver's education course utilized the commercial driving schools. There are currently 72 licensed commercial driving schools in Virginia and 500 instructors licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Ms. Wigand provided the Joint Subcommittee with an extensive overview of the current driver education curriculum, including the standards of learning and the "Curriculum and Administrative Guide for Driver Education in Virginia," which prescribes the content of a state-approved driver education program. She began by reviewing the curriculum which is divided into 11 modules and provides lesson plans so that students may learn what the standards require them to know. The different modules include licensing responsibilities, driver responsibilities, basic maneuvering tasks, information processing, driver performance, vehicle functions, and behind-the-wheel and in-car observation. The curriculum guide is set for revision in 2008.
Ms. Roeber spoke to the Joint Subcommittee with a national perspective. The NTSB is an agency that investigates crashes in order to reduce fatalities and prevent the crashes from happening again. It held a driver's education forum in 2003 and found that all forum participants (including public schools and commercial driving schools) claimed that education has some level of success in reducing teen crashes, but that no group has identified or evaluated a best practice.
The second meeting provided an opportunity for Joint Subcommittee members to hear from a representative from Maryland's Vehicle Administration, gather more information about driver education initiatives in specific school divisions around the Commonwealth, and learn about oversight of commercial driving schools.
Ms. Jennifer Hine, the Operations Manager of the Driver Services Division for the Maryland Vehicle Administration, informed the Joint Subcommittee about Maryland's Graduated Licensing System that was adopted in 1998.
Ms. Vanessa Wigand, the Principal Specialist for Driver Education, Health Education and Physical Education for the Virginia Department of Education, presented information regarding the prevalence of simulators in the driver education programs around the state, the costs of such simulators, and the average cost to provide driver education per pupil.
Ms. Karen Grim, the Assistant Commissioner for Driver, Vehicle, and Data Management, for the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), gave additional information about the auditing of commercial driving schools and crash data since Virginia adopted graduated driver's license requirements in 2001.
Based on the information obtained during the two meetings indicating that there is no national consensus on best practices curriculum yet and that the Board of Education will be adopting a revised curriculum in January 2008, the Joint Subcommittee will not issue a recommendation to revise the current curriculum.
No formal report of any findings or recommendations of the Joint Subcommittee will be submitted as a Senate Document to the 2008 Session.