Driver refresher course needed for parking permit recipients

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Driver refresher course needed for parking permit recipients

Thomas Dunlap

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To minimize car accident rates and potentially save lives, Texas State should require anyone interested in purchasing a campus parking permit to successfully pass a driver refresher course.

Implementing this requirement would raise awareness toward road safety and result in an increase of driver skill among a large percentage of drivers in San Marcos.

According to a report by the Office of Institutional Research, there were 38,644 students enrolled at Texas State in fall 2018. During this time there was 1,466 faculty members and 2,182 staff members, resulting in the total population of Texas State to be at 42,292 on the San Marcos campus.

Texas State Parking Services issued approximately 20,165 parking permits in 2018—almost half of Texas State’s total population. If each permit recipient had successfully passed a driver refresher course, the roads in and around Texas State campus would be irrefutably safer. Had this taken place, there is a strong possibility that some of the 1,165 car accidents that occurred in San Marcos last year would have been prevented.

This rule would apply to all parking permits, regardless of color and level, requiring both students, faculty and staff to enroll in said course.

According to a report conducted by the Texas Department of Transportation in 2018, the leading contributing factors of car accidents statewide are failure to control speed, driver inattention and changing lanes when unsafe. These are all simple and easy mistakes, yet they were the collective cause of 260,880 car accidents in 2018. This negligent behavior behind the wheel can be attributed to the under-education and inexperience of thousands of Texas drivers. Such seemingly minor but severely consequential mistakes could have been easily prevented by a driver refresher course.

It is safe to assume that the majority of drivers on the road in and around Texas State campus have some affiliation with the university, whether they are a student, faculty or staff member, and theoretically they would have taken the driver refresher course. Even if a driver does not currently have a parking permit, it is likely that at one point in time they did—such as the many upperclassmen who lived in a dormitory during their freshman year and have since moved off campus. They no longer have a parking permit, but they still benefit from the information and skills they learned during the driver refresher course.

Drivers in Texas aged 18 – 24 had the highest car accident rates in 2018, 21-year-olds taking first place with 27,033 occurrences. The reasoning behind these high accident rates is fairly obvious. It is common knowledge that this specific age group is generally more irresponsible and reckless than any other, and this type of behavior can easily be found on the roads. This group of somewhat inexperienced drivers, with only a couple of years behind the wheel, make up the majority of the Texas State population.

With such a dense concentration of juvenile drivers, it is no surprise that San Marcos roads are as chaotic as they are. Therefore, it almost becomes the duty of Texas State to further educate young drivers about the importance of road safety.

The implementation of this driver refresher course is important and necessary due to the disappointing and dangerous behavior exhibited by a large amount of drivers on San Marcos roads.

Distracted driving and blatant disregard of well-known traffic laws plague many roads in San Marcos, making it a stressful and frustrating experience to drive anywhere. Not only are many drivers radical and unpredictable, pedestrians (specifically students walking to class) are known to be reckless when crossing the road.

A mandatory driver refresher course only stands to benefit the safety of everyone and anyone who finds themselves on the roads in San Marcos and near Texas State’s campus, drivers and pedestrians alike. This requirement, mandated in the name of public safety, could serve as an inspiration and precedent for other universities, improving and promoting road and driver safety nationwide.

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