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Driver's ed turns pro.

There are some schools where a student's success depends on hitting the brakes instead of the books. Performance-driving schools--including those run by carmakers like BMW and Audi--are increasingly adding programs specifically designed for teenagers. Courses cost anywhere from $400 to $3,100 for up to three days with professional instructors, working on advanced maneuvers like quick lane changes, emergency braking at high speeds, and skid training. The schools say they're giving teenagers the skills they need to drive more safely. "In an accident-type situation, most people don't do enough," says Matt Mullins, an instructor at the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, S.C. But some safe-driving advocates and instructors say performance-driving courses may send the wrong message to impressionable young drivers. "It's the wrong answer," says Kristin Backstrom, president of Safe Smart Women, a driver-safety organization in Silver Spring, Md. "We need to slow them down and spend more time in the car with them."
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Title Annotation:ON THE ROAD
Publication:New York Times Upfront
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 12, 2005
Words:155
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