Every year, millions of people drive for the first time on our public roads.
Most of them are teens. Young drivers make up 6% of the 200 million plus licensed drivers in the United States. Yet each year, young drivers account for approximately 10% of fatal crashes and 13% of police-reported crashes.
To better prepare them, many states mandate driver education for teens applying for a driver license.
In Oregon, for example, teen driver ed programs require students to successfully complete at least 30 hours of classroom instruction and 12 hours of in-car instruction — 6 hours behind-the-wheel (BTW) and 6 hours observing other student drivers.
In the past 4 years, Oregon took a huge leap in improving its driver education by developing the Oregon Playbook curriculum. These new materials have enhanced classroom instruction greatly, but BTW instruction has remained largely unchanged.
While the Playbook provides excellent supplemental materials to support BTW instruction, current Oregon Department of Transportation policy allows driver ed providers to develop their own BTW lesson plans, route plans, and drive assessment forms.
This approach offers flexibility to the provider, but it also creates a problem: how to aggregate and standardize drive assessment data.
At the conclusion of each BTW drive, an instructor documents a student's performance using a hardcopy form (or, in some cases, a digital file saved to online storage). One copy is given to the student to take home for parent review, while another copy is filed by the provider.
After five years, these drive assessment records are destroyed. Valuable data that could have been used to evaluate and improve BTW instruction are lost.
The provider-by-provider variability of the forms, their one-off nature, and the short-term retention of the data all inhibit decision makers from leveraging the information to improve driver education.
Desy solves this problem by dramatically improving the way providers document and store BTW drive assessments.
Here's how Desy works.
At the end of a BTW drive lesson, an instructor conducts an assessment of the drive using our app Desy on an in-car tablet with cell service. Once the assessment is complete, the instructor submits it wirelessly to a secure online database.
When an instructor submits a student's drive report to the cloud, the parents receive a notification by email or SMS text. Parents log into Desy using a web browser. There they can review student drive reports, log parent-guided practice, and electronically sign the reports.
With Desy, driver ed providers and state administrators are able to analyze a wide array of metrics that correlate to program success.