Mercedes-Benz Canada has announced a unique driver education program to prepare Canadian teens for earning their driver’s licence as well as for safe driving practices throughout their lives.
The comprehensive training program, which begins next spring, will be the first of its kind in this country.
It will incorporate proprietary best practices from other Mercedes-Benz training academies around the world with a curriculum sanctioned by provincial governing bodies and specifically tailored to the unique requirements of the Canadian market.
Statistics verify that there the collision rate among teen drivers is disproportionately high. According to Canada's Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), drivers aged from 16 to 19 have a fatality rate more than four times as high as that of drivers aged 25 to 34, and nine times as high as that of drivers aged 45 to 54.
"Driving is one of the most important skills that any person can learn, and it is extremely important that parents and students do their research before attending a driving school," said Daniel R. Mayhew, senior vice-president, TIRF. "Getting parents and teens working together is one crucial step among many that can better prepare beginner drivers."
The Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy for Teens will offer a full spectrum of training that delves well-beyond basic car control and the fundamental rules and traffic regulations.
"Despite the dramatic changes in vehicles, highways, and the driving environment over the past 60 years, driver education has remained relatively unchanged in North America," said Alexander Hobbach, Global Head of Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy.
"The skills required to simply get a license do not fully prepare young drivers to meet the harsh demands of the road. Mercedes-Benz recognizes this issue and as result is creating an educational program based on the best teaching methods and tools available."
The program will be launched in Vancouver. It will be jointly operated by Mercedes-Benz Canada and Driving Unlimited, a long-time partner of Mercedes-Benz Canada that already runs the extremely popular and greatly respected Mercedes-Benz and AMG Driving Academy programs.
The highly experienced Driving Unlimited team is comprised of some of the most qualified facilitators, trainers and advanced driving instructors in the industry, who will ensure that every student receives the highest level of training and enjoys an experience that is commensurate with the brand.
Through a combination of classroom, in-car, and online education and training, novice drivers will learn the numerous skills, core competencies and defensive driving techniques crucial for safe and enjoyable driving.
Ground-breaking e-learning and personal risk assessment modules will give program participants a thorough understanding of risk awareness in order to safely navigate today’s congested roads and effectively respond to the challenging situations that they will encounter, the company says.
The Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy for Teens formula has been highly successful in other markets around the world. For example, in the U.K. students who attended the program had a first-time driver’s license exam pass rate of 79 percent, which is nearly double the U.K. national average of 43 percent.
"Mercedes-Benz vehicles offer some of the most sophisticated advanced safety systems in the industry, but these can never replace proper training for new drivers," said Tim A. Reuss, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada.
"With numerous studies proving that teen drivers are most at risk of a collision, the overall goal of this program is to ensure that novice drivers are well-equipped with the practical skills and confidence necessary to negotiate the many demanding situations they will undoubtedly face. We are extremely proud to do our part to help make Canadian roads safer, and look forward to launching the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy for Teens in Vancouver early next year."
Reuss added: "As the first program of its kind in Canada, we feel that there is a critical need for this type of training for teens and new drivers alike. We have learned a great deal from our Mercedes-Benz colleagues that run these programs in other markets around the globe, and we are very confident that this effective and practical approach to training new drivers will have a most positive impact in reducing accidents and saving lives. "