Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy

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By Juliana Schiavo

Students participating in Mer-cedes-Benz Driving Academy’s Distracted Driving Range course. The Distracted Driving Range gives students a hands-on oppor-tunity to experience on a closed course the effects distractions such as cell phone usage, other passengers in the vehicle, music, and conversation have on their ability to drive safely.

Her blonde hair shimmered in theSouthern Californiasun. She lowered the window and warm air rushed through the car. Her friends laughed in delight. “Turn it up!” She was reaching for the radio when she got a text. She grabbed her cell and when she looked down she took her eyes off the road. She was just sixteen and she slammed into … an orange safety cone.

This scene takes place numerous times on the closed-course Distracting Driving Range of Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy.Mercedes-BenzDrivingAcademyis a state-certified driving school that prepares students for today’s driving environment by creating safer and more responsible drivers for life.

Auto crashes are the number one killer of teens, particularly during the summer months, so Mercedes-Benz decided to cater their driving academy to this age group.

“Mercedes-Benz has always been at the forefront of safety innovation, having invented features such as three-point seat belts, ABS brakes, and crumple zones,” Driving Academy Director Carolyn Duchene says. “We can build some of the safest cars on the road, but now we want to create some of the safest drivers on the road as well.”

This isn’t just your run-of-the-mill driving school. This is a higher level of driver education that teaches real-world driving skills above and beyond those required by the state.

“When teenagers first learn to drive, they are instructed by their instructor and their parents. But the first month they are behind the wheel by themselves, they are four times more likely to get in a crash because they haven’t learned how to make decisions and drive independently.”

Most driving schools are simply focused on having students pass the DMV test.Mercedes-BenzDrivingAcademyis different. They’re focused on creating safer drivers for life (by teaching decision-making skills). To accomplish this they have created a program utilizing top talent including the former LAPD Chief Driving Instructor and other individuals with years of coaching and teaching experience.

Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy Senior Coach Marc Hemsworth leading a Parent-Teen workshop at the Academy. MBDA offers complimentary Parent-Teen workshops every Saturday at 10 a.m., providing an education on Graduated Driver Licensing and an introduction to MBDA’s Inte-grated Program, a 7-month course unlike any other available Driver Education offerings.

The course includes online, workshops, interactive classroom sessions, and behind-the-wheel coaching. It also includes engaging discussion and even a Crash Investigator-styled lesson where students analyze text documents related to a crash to determine what errors the driver made.

Another innovative component is the issuing of a student license that allows students to drive with a Mercedes-Benz coach in real world environments such as multilane and residential roads before they obtain their Learner’s Permit.

After the students receive their permits, parents are invited for an Interim Assessment.  Parents ride along with their teens and a Mercedes-Benz coach who teaches them how to coach their children in a more effective way during supervised practice.

When it comes to Driver Education and Training, the most important questions to ask are, “Do you want your teen to just pass the test? Or do you want them to learn superior driving and decision-making that will develop this important life skill?”

Mercedes-BenzDrivingAcademyis located at 8231 W. 3rd St. inLos Angeles. For more information, call (855) MBDA-USA [855-623-2872].

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