Two years ago, my son started driver’s education at our local high school. Curious about what cars they were using, I discovered it was a Chevy Aveo, which had some of the poorest crash test ratings, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That got me to thinking, why would schools put the most inexperienced drivers in cars with poor crash test scores?
We took that idea to the Chicago Tribune, and reporter Duaa Eldeib filed Freedom of Information requests with more than 50 Chicagoland schools. What she found was scary:
We at Cars.com scored cars used in 2010 and 2011 at the school districts, one by one, based on the crash-test scores they got when they were new. Some districts received high marks, while many others failed outright. In addition, we looked at which brands the schools favored, and evaluated how old the cars are.
It’s a compelling package. Find the main report at Chicagotribune.com/driversed, and see the Top and Bottom 10 school districts here at KickingTires.
What Brands Do Chicago-Area Districts Buy?
The makeup by manufacturers of drivers’ education cars that were used in 2010 and 2011 is dominated by domestic automakers, which account for roughly 87% of all cars in fleets. Given that those companies have the largest fleet sales and that they’re likely more politically acceptable to voters, it’s really no surprise. But there are some noteworthy items on this list:
The manufacturers with the greatest grip on these fleets?
The age of cars used in 2010 and 2011 in Chicagoland drivers’ education courses is not terribly old. In fact, the average age is 4.8 years, which is just less than the typical amount of time the buying public holds on to its cars. A few other facts: