In Texas students are not required to take a driver education course in public school. It is enough, the state says, for parents to teach their students to drive. That has been the law since 1997 and many parents have taken full advantage of it.

However, a recent study of the situation seems to show that parent taught driver education might not be the best decision.

According to the “Parent Taught Driver Education in Texas: A Comparative Evaluation,” a study published in by the Texas Transportation Agency for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, parent-taught students are in more accidents and serious crashes, have poorer driving knowledge and are more likely to fail the drivers license test on their first attempt, compared to students who took a commercial or school-taught course.

There certainly is something to be said for students who are taught safe driving habits by their parents, or even how to operate a motor vehicle. There is also something to be said for parents who help their preschooler learn their alphabet and numbers and how to say “please” and “thank you.” However, just as education does not end once a child learns to read neither should their driving education stop once they learn how to operate a motor vehicle.

As the study shows, students who receive a more comprehensive driver’s education do better once they get behind the wheel of an automobile on their own. This is likely because a parent simply cannot be expected to cover every eventuality with their beginning driver, and neither can a driving instructor. it takes a combination of both forces working together (and the hormones and other biological processes churning inside every teenager) to help instil in them the importance and habits of safe drivers.

In a perfect world every student would receive a complete and thorough education in how to safely operate a motor vehicle. Until we have a perfect world, however, everyone should do everything they can to help keeps kids, and everyone who shares the road with them, safe.