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Should eco-driving be part of driver’s education?

As awareness of the benefits of eco-driving habits builds in the US and around the world, there is also a growing interest in incorporating eco-driving techniques in early drivers education courses.

Until recently, professional eco-driving training has been a specialty course provided to already-experienced drivers, often as a work-related program for professional fleet drivers in an effort to reduce company fuel expenses and reduce preventable accidents.

Several studies done in the last 10 years indicate a direct connection between efficient drivers and those drivers with fewer preventable accidents.

One internal study at a major US-based trucking company indicated that their top fuel-efficient drivers were squarely in the top percentile of drivers with the fewest preventable accidents. It was also found that their drivers who routinely drove in an inefficient manner were among those drivers with the greatest number of preventable accidents.

How are eco-drivers safer drivers?

By practicing eco-driving techniques motorists maintain a high level of awareness to traffic patterns and the flow of vehicles around and ahead of the driver, allowing the driver to plan to minimize the loss of momentum while operating their vehicle safely and efficiently.

Eco-driving motorists are encouraged to “de-couple” emotionally from the circumstances of normal traffic, focusing instead on a competition between “themselves and the gas pump” verses jockeying for position with other drivers around them.

By limiting the top-speed and maintaining generous following-distances eco-drivers give themselves extra time to react to unexpected changes, providing additional decision making time and a greater likelihood of maintaining control in evasive maneuvers.

This correlation between efficient driving and safe driving creates an opportunity to apply measurable indicators to driver safety.

In the past an individual driver’s skill and risk was measured by referring to DMV records to count number and severity of traffic citations,  or by referencing insurance records to measure the number and severity of traffic accidents on record. “Defensive driver” insurance discounts are provided to drivers who have had fewer accidents and fewer citation – without any real data to determine if the driver is truly driving in a safe and skilled manner – or has just been lucky.

With the advent of inexpensive on-board driver-behavior data-logging devices (like the CarChip Pro) we can build software systems (like FuelClinic) that are designed to analyse real-world driving behavior based on actual data. With the proper training and monitoring programs in place, this driving data can be processed in near-real-time with timely reporting in an on-going effort to improve both fuel efficiency and safety records.

(Click image to add your vote to this poll)

Several states are currently working to add eco-driving to drivers education, including Michigan and Florida, with RFPs seeking qualified training materials to be added to their existing driver training programs.

What do you think? Should eco-driving techniques be added to the existing driver’s ed program in your state? Comments are welcome below, or join the discussion over at our Facebook Community.


7 Responses to “Should eco-driving be part of driver’s education?”

  1. Fresno Traffic School on March 30th, 2010 7:01 AM

    Eco-driving should be a part of driver’s education.. as the drivers and vehicle owners can also know more, along with the regular learning experience in traffic schools like awareness about all the traffic rules, laws, signs, road safety tips and DUI.

    It would be a great learning experience if it’s also a part of Driver’s Ed.

    thanks for sharing the post and i am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.

  2. Paul on March 30th, 2010 5:12 PM

    we at http://www.teenlivedrive.com think this will benefit all.

  3. Rodney Sumner on April 30th, 2010 12:36 AM

    if we can implement this eco-driving in the driving education, it will benefit a lot since global warming is the biggest issue we are facing right now.
    Nice thought, thanks for sharing. let me circulate it to my network.

    Thanks again.
    Rodney Sumner

  4. Joshua Law Online Driving Course on August 5th, 2010 5:24 AM

    yes it s better if we make eco driving as part of driver education

  5. German Town Scraps Road Signs to Increase Safety - Page 4 - Fuel Economy, Hypermiling, EcoModding News and Forum - EcoModder.com on August 10th, 2010 5:29 PM

    […] drivers are generally perceived as safer drivers, WIN! I'm not the first person to have the idea. Should eco-driving be part of driver’s education? Fuelishness! Fuel Economy Blog GA_googleFillSlot("Forum_Rectangle"); (Support Ecomodder.com & get rid of these annoying […]

  6. John on August 14th, 2010 10:06 AM

    For every five miles per hour you drive above 55 mph, you lose 10% fuel efficiency. Why not keep your speed down when you can and save lives.

  7. Michel on January 25th, 2011 2:08 AM

    Yes its really good to introduce the eco driving in driver education…

    Online Traffic School Guide Team

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