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 varied widely. The DERIC Project aimed to:

  • 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 was the DERIC curriculum developed ?

Materials were prepared by individuals who have knowledge of teen driving safety, teen behavior, driver education, and curriculum development.

An implementation guide for the DERIC curriculum, including lesson plans, supporting activities, and assessments for each session topic, is currently being developed.

All curriculum materials are being pilot tested in New York State driver education programs to:

  • measure short-term changes in student knowledge related to the module content;
  • help to determine whether the information is understandable and effectively presented by the instructors;
  • and allow instructors an opportunity to provide their feedback.

***Following the completion of pilot testing, all curriculum modulues (summarized in table below) and accompanying materials will be posted to this site***

The DERIC Project Curriculum Materials
Module Description
Distracted Driving/Driver Inattention Detect the potential sources and consequences of distracted driving and learn strategies for how to avoid distraction.
Unsafe Speed Determine the importance of following speed limits and adjusting speed limits in different conditions.
Occupant Protection Identify the laws regarding occupant protection and knowledge of why occupant protection is important.
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.
Sharing the Road Understand the limitations and vulnerabilities of road users and learn how to share the road safely and responsibly.
Driving in Different Environments and Conditions Recognize how different driving environments and conditions influence driving and how to manage these environments and conditions.
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.
Impaired Driving Understand the risks and consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Physical and Mental Health Effects on Driving Recognize how different mental and physical states influence driving, including sleepiness, emotional distress, and aggressiveness/anger.
Vehicle Control and Driving Maneuvers Learn basic driving maneuvers, and how to safely and effectively control your vehicle while driving.
Vision, Space, and Risk Management Identify how to effectively manage vision requirements, space requirements, and risks while driving.
Emergency Response and Recovery Know how to react and respond to emergency situation encountered while driving.

Helpful Links

For Parents

For Driver Education Instructors