One of my photos

Safer driving

April 4th, 2006 · Posted by Skuds in Life · No Comments · Life

A report by the Transport Research Laboratory is suggesting that young drivers should have various restrictions placed on them in order to reduce fatal accidents (and non-fatal ones too I suppose).

The restrictions include having new drivers not carrying passengers younger than 21 and not driving at night. Without reading the report itself, or the Canadian studies it draws from I think I can see the logic. Just looking at our own teenager who is thinking about learning to drive I can imagine him being a lot more reckless if he has friends his own age in the car with him who he wanted to impress. Likewise, I could imagine him in a friend’s car, egging them on to overtake here and do a u-turn there.

To be honest, I really dread the first time one of our children’s friends gets a car and wants to take them out for a drive. I don’t think I trust any newly-qualified teenaged driver with our kids’ lives. Our local papers are always full of stories of cars full of youngsters colliding with something or other and I’m sure its not a purely local problem.

The trouble is that for teenagers, having a first car is a sort of rite of passage, and having a car at all could be the only bit of personal space in their lives. With the shortage of affordable housing and the high prices of housing generally, they are likely to be living at home well beyond their teens, possibly still sharing a room with a brother or sister. Imagine being in that situation, having a car, but not being able to go out at night?

Also, imagine a group of friends who hang out together. When the first one gets a car what happens? Does he drive everywhere while his mates catch a bus and meet him there? Or does he make sure he brings a parent along for the ride?

I can’t deny that these suggestions would reduce deaths and injuries if they were implemented, but it seems like a bit of a kill-joy approach, fraught with impracticalities. Knowing what teenagers are like, the reality is that it would work because they would all be banned from driving within 6 months after ignoring all the rules. Fortunately the DfT don’t seem to be too interested in these ideas.
Its hard to be objective about this sort of thing though. As a parent I would be more than happy to see a law that said all teenagers had to stick to 20mph and have a traffic policeman in the car with them at all times.

(Disclosure: I didn’t learn to drive until I was in my late 20s, but I can remember being a 17-year-old in my 17-year-old friends’ cars and even the sensible ones sometimes did some downright stupid things, which at the time I thoroughly enjoyed and encouraged, so I know exactly what I’m afraid of with our lot!)

Tags: ··

No Comments so far ↓

Like the collective mind of the Daily Mail, comments are closed.