Car Industry

Volvo wants to launch its own teen-driver training program in the US

It's another part of Volvo's efforts to make the roads safer.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Anders Gustafsson is Swedish but, as Volvo Cars America president and CEO, he's spent the last 14 months living in the US. And compared to Sweden, Gustafsson is unimpressed with the lax approach American states take to driver training.

"You are supposed to do this 7-minute test and that scares me a little bit," he said at a roundtable with journalists in Sweden. "My son, he is 17, he cannot take his towels from the floor, he cannot make his own bed, but he can drive a car."

Volvo says that young American drivers need more training before they're let out onto the roads.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

As a result, Gustafsson said Volvo is considering launching its own teen-driver training programs in the US. That follows on other safety efforts like a speed-limiting Care Key and cameras that can determine whether a driver is distracted, tired or under the influence.

"We need to do something about younger drivers, we need to help them," Gustaffson said. "There is opportunity in the US to work with helping young drivers get better, and that is something that we will be focused on."

Gustafsson offered few specifics, but emphasized that US drivers need to receive more training, and that said that instruction should be on more advanced topics than driver's-ed mainstays like how to park and "how many centimeters you're supposed to be from the center line."

Gustafsson's experience getting a US driver's license influenced his feelings about driver training programs.

Volvo

"I think it's other things you need to learn before you go out and use a car as a weapon," Gustafsson said. "We need to do something unique in the US, because it's a unique situation."

Volvo will also lobby for improved driver education at the state level, but Gustafsson said the company is probably too small to be able to effect major changes in that way: "We don't think, based on our size, we can force any states to do that."