Will Copilot Driver’s Licenses Improve Traffic Safety?

Wed, 9/20/2017 - 9:10 pm by Kirsten Rincon

Over 30,000 people are killed in the United States each year, and car related deaths cost over $40 billion a year in medical expenses and lost productivity, according to the Centers For Disease Control. Most common causes of car accidents include distracted driving, driving under the influence, and speeding. Since distracted driving is now the leading cause of car crashes, authorities are putting a lot of effort into preventing it and making drivers aware of the dangers that it brings. Various measures have been implemented, including distracted driving laws, as well as campaigns launched by the Department of Transportation to raise public awareness about this issue.

The latest suggestion that is supposed to help prevent distracted driving, was given by the Automobile Safety Foundation (ASF). This non-profit organization, that is dedicated to improving traffic safety and is constantly proposing new solutions that could reduce the number of accidents resulting in injury or death. They have proposed a so-called “Copilot Driver’s License Program”, which is supposed to teach learner drivers about the dangers of distracted driving and the importance of road concentration.

The Automobile Safety Foundation considers road concentration to be a key factor to safe driving, which is why they have have decided to try and battle driver distraction. They have introduced the Eyes On The Road/Hands On The Wheel campaign, along with the Copilot License Program, in efforts to improve road concentration. The ASF proposes that all teen drivers holding a learner’s permit should spend at least one year as a passenger, practicing road concentration. After they have completed a year as a vehicle passenger, they will be able to obtain a driver’s license. The foundation claims that the Copilot License will help increase road concentration, resulting in improved traffic safety and decreased number of car accidents, it will help stop driver distractions, and it will make drivers realize how important road concentration is. In addition to that, the ASF says that the Copilot License Program will provide an additional stream of revenue for government agencies that are in charge of issuing driver’s licenses.

In order for this program to be successful, the ASF intends to convince state DMVs, as well as  Ministries of Transportation, and licensing bureaus in countries all around the world to accept it as an international industry standard, and a requirement for everyone who wants to obtain a driver’s license. This program should serve as an addition to the driving education about road concentration, which the ASF hopes all countries already provide for learner drivers. 

Considering that distracted driving causes more than 3,000 deaths a year in the United States alone, this is an important program that could save many lives in the future. The issue of distracted driving has become much more concerning in recent years, as the use of electronic devices, mostly cell phones, behind the wheel, has become more widespread, which has made legislators in almost all U.S. states put distracted driving laws into effect, banning the use of cell phones while driving.