Mercedes-Benz USA Teen Driving Academy in Final Stages
Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy is finalizing both its facility and curriculum, presenting a new approach to driver education
by John Clark | 19 October 2011
The Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy isn’t just for experience drivers anymore. The first Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy for teen driver’s, located on W. 3rd Street in Los Angeles, California, is nearly finished and ready to take on new pupils.
Working alongside an independent team of professionals in transit and driver education, the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy is finalizing both its facility and curriculum – presenting a new approach to driver education while meeting and exceeding California DMV requirements.
Mercedes-Benz, a leader in automobile safety, is making a major commitment to driver education and safety in Southern California to combat the alarming statistics surrounding teen car crashes in the region. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number one cause of death amongst adolescents ages 15-20 is a car crash. National averages show that teens are most likely to have a significant crash in their first year of driving, four-times higher than an adult or experienced driver.
The new methodologies and approach for the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy is based on findings of the highly acclaimed HERMES research group, including European traffic safety organizations and institutions, confirming the most effective methods for both teaching and learning. Coaching, a learner-centered method, will lead students out of the passive consuming of safety information into the role of actively producing safe driving results by making better decisions on the road.
Proven successful at the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy in the U.K., the California Academy program is a customized curriculum involving a highly interactive, participatory system of key tactical on-line and classroom components in conjunction with appropriate on-road training. With this approach, maneuverability and decision-making processes are developed for Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy students through role-playing, case studies, dilemma games, witness accounts, brainstorming and coaches’ questions. Today, many schools are set on traditional teaching to the test or promoting rote memorization.
Mercedes-Benz is part of a growing movement towards placing a higher value on driver education in general. For the past year, Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy has been working with the California State PTA and partnered with IMPACT Teen Drivers, including giving a grant to provide important safety workshops at over 20 Los Angeles area schools.
“We are leading a path to modify and update driver education to accommodate the incredible changes in the driving landscape that have transpired over the past six decades,” said Academy Director Carolyn Duchene. “Road conditions, technology, distractions, traffic and other externalities including a record number of drivers today along with road improvement projects require a totally new approach to ensure teens become safe and responsible drivers,” she continued.
The Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy will offer a variety of programs for teens and new drivers at various stages of their learning process, taking full advantage of the Graduated Driver Licensing framework in California with a heavy focus on the importance of parental involvement, which leads to practice and positive reinforcement for success.
- The most comprehensive program for those at the beginning of their learning phase incorporates an engaging, on-line theory component interspersed with corresponding blocks of road application designed to better prepare new drivers with more critical thinking and road strategy.
- An on-road, behind-the-wheel program is available for those who already have their learner’s permit.
- Customized programs can also be provided to further refine driving skill sets for any age or level.
The MBDA operations and training center, which is in the final stages of the build out, is strategically located with access to the Los Angeles Metro area and close proximity to several premier shopping centers. “We chose the location for the first U.S. Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy to meet the needs of our students and their families – and that includes accessibility to many neighborhoods, close proximity to several major highways and shopping destinations for parent convenience,” Duchene said.
Mercedes-Benz plans to announce additional Driving Academy locations in the future and is engaged in active, ongoing recruitment for driving instructors. For more information on employment opportunities and enrollment, please visit www.mbdrivingacademy.com.