Isle of Wight County Schools

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Drivers Ed

Course overview
With Freedom Comes Great Responsibility
Cars do not crash-people crash them.  The driver, especially the young driver, continues to be a weak link in automotive safety.  The benefits of effective safety instruction have great value to students, to parents, and to the commonwealth.  As students, you must apply concepts learned behind a desk to the realities of driving behind the wheel.  Virginia teachers have designed a guide to help you capture the key concepts for your driver education lessons and to help you gain a detailed understanding of the fundamentals of driving before you take on the most hazardous tasks most people will ever perform!
The Driver Education Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools provides the framework for the Curriculum Guide for Driver Education in Virginia. As prescribed by §22.1-205 of the Code of Virginia, this curriculum guide serves as the Board of Education’s approved driver-education and traffic-safety program of instruction for public and private school programs. Commercial driver training schools are approved and licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles as prescribed by VR 485-60-9201, and they follow the same course content as public and private school driver education programs.

The classroom and in-car driver education standards focus on safe driving attitudes; time, space, and distance-perception skill development; and the recognition of and appropriate response to hazards in the ever-changing driving environment. Emphasis is placed on linking visual search skills, space management, and maintenance of balanced vehicle control to risk-reducing driving strategies. Significant attention is given to risk awareness, driver alertness, driver distractions, the social and economic consequences of driving, occupant protection, positive interactions with other roadway users, and the physical and psychological conditions that affect driver performance. Students apply basic driving skills in low-to-moderate traffic environments and progress to demonstration of skill proficiency in more complex traffic situations. When possible, teachers are also encouraged to use simulation and other technologies that will enhance student learning.

Successful completion of a state-approved driver education program does not make a teenager a responsible, experienced driver. Traffic safety education involves family, community, industry, government, and personal factors such as motivation, maturity, and perception abilities. These factors play a major role in the development of young safe drivers. Evidence shows that often it is not poor driving skills that cause accidents among this age group, but inexperience and/or poor attitude. The family, not the school, is in the best position to have a sustained effect on minimizing the risks faced by inexperienced drivers and encouraging responsible behaviors. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on extensive supervised practice with a licensed parent or guardian to develop precision in the use of skills, processes, and responsibilities.
The purpose of driver education is to provide students with a detailed understanding of the fundamentals of driving and to foster responsible attitudes and behaviors. As a result of quality traffic-safety instruction, students will be able to   
  • demonstrate a working knowledge of the laws governing the operation of a motor vehicle
  • identify and analyze the physical and psychological conditions that affect driver performance
  • apply knowledge, processes, and skills to become safe, competent users of the highway transportation system
  • use visual search skills to make risk-reducing decisions by adjusting speed and/or position
  • demonstrate balanced vehicle movement through precise and timely steering, braking, and accelerating under a variety of conditions
  • display responsible driving behaviors when alone and with peers
Drivers Education Standards
DE.1    The student will demonstrate an understanding of Virginia traffic laws, licensing procedures, and other responsibilities associated with the driving privilege. Key concepts include
a)      licensing requirements and types of licenses
b)      the motor vehicle section of the Code of Virginia
c)      the organ- and tissue-donation designation process

DE.2    The student will demonstrate an understanding of basic vehicle operating procedures. Key concepts/skills include
a)      pre-driving procedures
b)      starting procedures (automatic and manual transmissions)
c)      vehicle information, warning, and control devices
d)      vehicle securing procedures

DE.3    The student will recognize the effects of momentum, gravity, and inertia on vehicle control and balance, and the relationship between kinetic energy and force of impact. Key concepts/skills include
a)      seating and hand position
b)      steering, braking, and acceleration
c)      compensating for shifts in vehicle load (from side to side, front to rear, and rear to front) that affect    vehicle performance
d)      front tire traction loss (understeer) and rear tire traction loss (oversteer)
e)      types of collisions—head-on, near-frontal, broadside, rear-end, rollover, sideswipe

DE.4    The student will demonstrate the ability to manage visibility, time, and space to avoid conflicts and reduce driving risks. Key concepts/skills include
a)      synthesizing information visually from the driving environment, using a space-management process
b)      applying following-distance, time, and space concepts
c)      selecting gap and judging distance
d)      estimating passing-time and space needs
e)      identifying and responding to open or closed space and changes to line-of-sight or path-of-travel

DE.5    The student will demonstrate appropriate adjustments when approaching controlled and uncontrolled intersections, curves, work zones, railroad crossings, and hills with line-of-sight or path-of-travel limitations. Key concepts/skills include
a)      roadway signs, signals, and markings
b)      right-of-way rules
c)      slope/grade of terrain
d)      vehicle position and speed control

DE.6    The student will identify the characteristics of an expressway and apply risk-reducing expressway driving strategies. Key concepts/skills include
a)      entering, merging, integrating into, and exiting from traffic flow
b)      managing interchanges
c)      selecting vehicle position and changing lanes
d)      managing toll facilities

DE.7    The student will demonstrate the ability to communicate presence and intentions to other highway transportation users. Key concepts/skills include
a)      vehicle position and driver action
b)      vehicle communication devices
c)      hand signals (i.e., slow/stop, right and left turns)
DE.8    The student will analyze and describe the physiological, psychological, and cognitive effects of alcohol and other drugs and their impact on a driver’s awareness of risks and involvement in collisions. Key concepts include
a)      prescribed and over-the-counter medications
b)      illegal or illicit drugs
c)      effects of alcohol and other drugs on vision and space management
d)      synergistic effects of drugs
e)      ways alcohol is eliminated from the body

DE.9    The student will identify and analyze the legal, health, and economic consequences associated with alcohol and other drug use and driving. Key concepts/skills include
a)      positive and negative peer pressure
b)      refusal and peer-intervention skills
c)      Implied Consent, Zero Tolerance, and Use and Lose laws
d)      Administrative License Revocation, loss of license, ignition interlock, and other licensing restrictions
e)      court costs, insurance requirements, Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program referral, and other costs

DE.10  The student will recognize the consequences of aggressive driving and other emotions that influence driving behaviors. Key concepts include
a)      stress and anxiety
b)      anger management
c)      the relationship between aggressive driving and road rage

DE.11  The student will analyze the effects of fatigue and other physical conditions on driver performance. Key concepts include
a)      short- and long-term physical and mental disabilities
b)      chronic health conditions
c)      circadian rhythms
d)      sleep deprivation

DE.12  The student will identify distractions that contribute to driver error. Key concepts include
a)      passengers and pets
b)      vehicle accessories
c)      cell phones and other portable technology devices
d)      insects and animals
e)      driver behaviors (e.g., eating, smoking, personal grooming)

DE.13  The student will identify changes in the environment that affect visibility and traction and demonstrate an understanding of appropriate driver reaction to these risks. Key concepts/skills include
a)      driving at night
b)      smoke- and weather-related conditions
c)      road conditions and construction
d)      vehicle stability and traction control systems

DE.14  The student will demonstrate an understanding of the proper use of vehicle occupant-protection features and analyze how they reduce injury severity and increase collision survival. Key concepts/skills include
a)      active restraint systems
b)      passive restraint systems
c)      child restraint systems
d)      highway safety design

DE.15  The student will identify and evaluate emergency-response strategies to reduce the severity of or avoid a collision in high-risk driving situations. Key concepts/skills include
a)      evasive maneuvers, using braking and steering combinations
b)      off-road recovery
c)      front and rear traction control

DE.16  The student will identify and describe the performance characteristics of other road users and apply problem-solving skills to minimize risks when sharing the roadway with
a)      pedestrians and animals
b)      bicycles, scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles
c)      tractor-trailers, trucks, and construction vehicles
d)      sport utility vehicles, recreation vehicles, and trailers
e)      emergency vehicles
f)       funeral processions
g)      passenger and school buses
h)      farm machinery and horse-drawn vehicles

DE.17  The student will compare vehicle-braking systems and explain proper braking techniques for various weather and roadway conditions. Key concepts/skills include
a)      conventional brake systems of small and large vehicles
b)      two- and four-wheel anti-lock brake systems (ABS)
c)      controlled braking, trail braking, threshold braking, and antilock braking

DE.18  The student will analyze how preventive maintenance reduces the possibility of vehicle failures and recognize the warning signs that indicate the need for maintenance, repair, or replacement. Key concepts/skills include
a)      vehicle warning devices
b)      lights and signals
c)      steering and suspension systems
d)      tires and braking systems
e)      cooling system and belts
f)       fuel and ignition electronics

DE.19  The student will identify and describe the legal aspects of and calculate the financial responsibilities associated with purchasing, operating, maintaining, and insuring a motor vehicle. Key concepts include
a)      Financial Responsibility Law
b)      required and optional insurance coverage
c)      title and vehicle registration
d)      vehicle inspection
e)      fuel, fluids, tires, and other maintenance costs
f)       collision involvement

DE.20  The student will demonstrate competency in map-reading and trip-planning skills. Key concepts/skills include
a)      route planning
b)      map-reading and trip-planning technologies

DE.21  The student will research and evaluate personal transportation needs and their impact on the environment, and demonstrate skills necessary to be an informed consumer. Key concepts/skills include
a)      printed and Internet resources
b)      community resources
c)      vehicle pollution, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone-causing gases, and acids
d)      appropriate disposal of batteries, fluids, tires, and other environmentally hazardous materials
e)      energy conservation, alternative or renewable sources of energy, and conservation of natural resources

DE.22  The student will use vehicle reference points to establish vehicle position and execute basic driving maneuvers. Key concepts/skills include
a)      parking
b)      turning
c)      establishing lane position
d)      backing