In the early twentieth century, new drivers were taught by family members, friends, or car dealers. By the 1930s, some safety advocates thought that formal training of young motorists in public school systems would reduce accidents. In 1932, Amos Neyhart, an industrial engineering professor at Pennsylvania State University, established driver education courses at State College High School, located near the Penn State campus in State College, Pennsylvania.
Neyhart served as an advisor to the American Automobile Association (AAA), which developed curricula for driver education students and teachers under the title Sportsmanlike Driving. AAA encouraged the development of driving classes at public high schools and established training programs for driving instructors at colleges and universities.
A growing number of high schools added special courses in an effort to improve driver skill and behavior and reduce the number of accidents. In many high schools, there were not enough teachers for one-on-one experience behind the wheel of a car. Driving simulators filled this gap by the 1950s.