5 on Your Side

What is teen driver training really worth?

Posted February 10, 2010 5:50 p.m. EST
Updated December 13, 2010 7:17 p.m. EST

Every parent experiences it at some point: the feeling of complete terror when you have to accept your teenager IS going to drive!

I’m going through it right now with my 16-year-old daughter. I worry about her safety and about the safety of those on the road around her, especially when you consider the facts:

- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.

- Every day, more than 10 young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 DIE in car crashes! 10 each DAY!

- Per mile driven, teens are FOUR times more likely to crash than other drivers.

Do we really HAVE to let them drive? Of course we do.

But while all teenage drivers obviously lack experience, my daughter also seemed to lack any level of confidence. So I enrolled her in an advanced training course at the BMW Teen Driving School in Greer, S.C., knowing that ANY extra training she could get would only help HER become a more confident, safer driver – and help my husband and I feel ever so slightly better when she heads out on the road.

But I know plenty of people don’t have the time, money or even inclination to take their teen to a training school. So, I decided I should report on our experience with the hope that other teens and parents could benefit from what we learn.

The result is a five-part special report airing all of this week on WRAL-TV. We’re spending an entire week on the topic so that we could provide in-depth stories and actually demonstrate four specific skills.

I encourage parents to watch the segments WITH their teens, TALK about putting those skills into practice, and then go to an empty parking lot to actually practice the skills on a smaller scale.

In Friday’s segment we'll talk about how parents can set up a "mini-course" for such practice. Get with a couple of friends and do it together. Make it fun!

As for the BMW course, many viewers have already asked how to sign-up their teens. Both one-day and two-day courses are offered. We did the two days.

I’ll be honest, it costs a CHUNK of money. WITH a car club discount, I paid $760 (The one-day course is about half that). I swallowed HARD MANY times when I read that price! I looked up other, comparable courses. They were all about the same price.

But then I thought about the cost of the big screen TV my husband wants, the Wiis that so many families have, the money we spend on grabbing dinner out. They all add up pretty quickly!  

There are a few other, less expensive courses available.  Most aren't as in-depth, but they are still worthwhile!  ANY extra training for a teen driver is worthwhile. Especially when that training could potentially save your child's life – and maybe the life of their passengers and other drivers on the road! 

And now, like many of the other parents that I talked with that weekend, I believe the training at the BMW Perfomrance School was truly priceless.  I’m just glad we're able to share our experience with all of you.  I hope other teens AND parents will learn from our stories!

About this Blog:

In addition to the stories you see on TV, Monica is always looking for ways to help consumers find deals and avoid fraud. She'll blog about what you need to know here.