By Lucy Wyndham
Anyone who works in the D.C. area knows that traffic is getting worse, with commute times on the increase. The average employee in Prince George’s County, where traffic is worst, takes 36.5 minutes getting to work, which totals 6 hours a week on commuting alone. As increasing numbers of students graduate from D.C. high schools, becoming familiar with their vehicles will only become more important. Schools are already under pressure to teach more practical and life skills, from teaching about finances to developing social skills. In a district where cars are so common, it makes sense to also teach vehicle maintenance to students on the cusp of learning to drive.
Opening Up Job Opportunities
Despite the changing nature of America’s economy, truck driving remains the most common job in the USA, with 7.4 million workers in the industry nationwide. These employees need to have a thorough understanding of vehicle maintenance, yet it is not a subject often taught in American schools. From understanding the meaning of vehicle warning lights to doing proper checks before setting off, keeping everything working is an essential part of getting the jobs done. It keeps all goods and people being carried safe until they reach their destination.
However, vehicle maintenance studies wouldn’t just train truck drivers. There are 750,000 automotive technicians in the USA, who will still be needed even when self-driving cars take over. With an average wage of $20 an hour, this could provide a good standard of living for many of Washington D.C.’s young people.
Vehicle Maintenance Saves Lives
More than 3000 people die in road accidents each year, making it the leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. Of course, much of this can be prevented by teaching about safe driving. However, keeping your vehicle in good running order is another way to increase safety on the road. A sudden engine failure on the highway or a popped tire at 60 mph can be fatal.
When venturing beyond large American cities, there are 3.8 million square miles of desert across the US. If you break down here, then it could be a long time before any help arrives. Being able to repair your own vehicle is a vital life skill that could help many students to avoid dangerous situations. Ultimately, more education should be geared towards these potentially life-saving lessons, rather than focusing solely on employment. Having said that, an adult who can be independent out in the real world has the kind of skills that many employers are looking for, so it’s really killing two birds with one stone.
Teaching vehicle maintenance may be low on the priorities of many teachers, but it shouldn’t be. There are millions of job vacancies in truck driving or automotive technology that a high school education in fixing cars would prepare students for. Beyond that, it is a valuable life skill that may prevent many deaths on our streets. Vehicle maintenance offers transferable skills and independence, necessary to provide Washing D.C. kids with a bright future.