A U.S. survey reveals that in states that don't require driver's education before getting a license, about one-third of students skip driver's ed classes and more than half fail to undergo any formal behind-the-wheel training.
Males, blacks, Hispanics and students with poor academic records were especially unlikely to have received driver's ed or behind-the-wheel training, according to the report published online and in the March print issue of the journal Pediatrics.
The findings show that "if a state doesn't require driver's education, certain groups of kids are less likely to get it," said study lead author Allison Curry, director of epidemiology and biostatistics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Injury Research and Prevention.
Rules about driver's education and training behind the wheel vary throughout the United States. California and Maine, for example, require drivers who get licenses under the age of 18 to take driver's education, while Idaho sets the age limit at 17. Some states, including Arkansas, New Jersey, South Dakota and Mississippi, don't require supervised behind-the-wheel training.
The current report is based on the results of a 2006 survey that included 1,770 high school students who had driver's licenses. The students were asked about the kind of driver's education they had received.