Driver Education Research & Innovation Center Project

Motor Vehicle Crashes are a Leading Cause of Death and Injuries for Teens

The Driver Education Research & Innovation Center (DERIC) Project was established to standardize driver education courses, thereby reducing crashes and producing safer teen drivers. Before the DERIC Project, the curriculum and quality of instruction among driver education programs has varied widely. The DERIC Project will:

  • Develop a standard curriculum that increases safe teen driving behavior and is sought after by parents, students, and instructors.
  • Identify, develop, and recommend courses that are relevant, engaging, and developmentally appropriate for teen drivers.

The DERIC Project is a partnership between the New York State Departments of Health, Motor Vehicles, and Education; Governor's Traffic Safety Committee; and Health Research, Inc.

Existing Options for New, Teen Drivers
5-Hour Pre-Licensing Course
Mandatory in New York State
VERSUS Driver Education Course
Optional in New York State
5 hours of classroom instruction 24 hours of classroom instruction
No behind the wheel training 24 hours of behind the wheel training and observation
Provides basic knowledge of select topics, including the Department of Motor Vehicles' point system, rules of the road, car-restraint systems, the laws of physics, defensive driving, driver safety, and drug and alcohol impairment. Covers 5-hour course basic knowledge plus additional topics. Encourages best practice skills/habits and responsible behavior on the road.
A senior license can be obtained at age 18 upon completion and successful road test. A senior license can be obtained at age 17 upon completion of a driver education course, 5-hour pre-licensing course, and successful road test.
The 5-hour pre-licensing course is standardized and mandatory. The DERIC Project aims to standardize driver education courses in New York State classrooms.

How Is DERIC Developing This Curriculum?

The DERIC Project curriculum modules are being prepared by individuals who have knowledge of teen driving safety, teen behavior, driver education, and curriculum development.

The modules are being pilot tested in New York State driver education programs:

  • Students are completing pre- and post-tests to measure short-term changes in their knowledge and attitudes related to the module content.
  • Student pilot test results will help to determine whether the information is understandable and effectively presented by the instructors.
  • Instructors are given an opportunity to provide their feedback.
  • A long-term student evaluation, with a focus on behavioral changes, will be conducted at the conclusion of the course.
The DERIC Project Curriculum Modules
Module Description Expected Release
Distracted Driving/Driver Inattention Detect the potential sources and consequences of distracted driving and learn strategies for how to avoid distraction. Spring 2016
Unsafe Speed Determine the importance of following speed limits and adjusting speed limits in different conditions. Spring 2016
Occupant Protection Identify the laws regarding occupant protection and knowledge of why occupant protection is important. Spring 2016
Signs, Signals, and Markings Learn why signs, signals, and markings are important and how to observe, recognize, understand, and react to them in different situations. Spring 2016
Sharing the Road Understand the limitations and vulnerabilities of road users and learn how to share the road safely and responsibly. Spring 2017
Driving in Different Environments and Conditions Recognize how different driving environments and conditions influence driving and how to manage these environments and conditions. Spring 2017
Getting Familiar with Your Vehicle Discover how to keep your vehicle in proper working order and the location and functions of vehicle instruments and controls. Spring 2017
Impaired Driving Understand the risks and consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Spring 2018
Physical and Mental Health Effects on Driving Recognize how different mental and physical states influence driving, including sleepiness, emotional distress, and aggressiveness/anger. Spring 2018
Vehicle Control and Driving Maneuvers Learn basic driving maneuvers, and how to safely and effectively control your vehicle while driving. Spring 2019
Vision, Space, and Risk Management Identify how to effectively manage vision requirements, space requirements, and risks while driving. Spring 2019
Emergency Response and Recovery Know how to react and respond to emergency situation encountered while driving. Spring 2019

Get Involved!

  • Pilot Test the DERIC Program Curriculum Modules
  • Become a Member of the Curriculum Subcommittee

For more information, contact the Bureau of Occupational Health and Injury Prevention at 518-402-7900 or

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