21 April, 2010

Will raising the driving age work?

Two things happened in the last week that have prompted me to put in my 2 cents worth on this.

1. Eldest child, one month over 15, has just passed her learner's licence. Her motivation to do so was a combination of a goal setting exercise and the government announcing that they were going to raise the age to 16.

2. My secretary got a lift with a friend recently. The friend is the mother of an 19 year old girl and was complaining about her daughter getting egg all over her car after some high jinx at youth group. Kids as passengers in car with Miss 19 driving throwing eggs etc.

So far so normal if not good.

This is the kicker.

It seems that Miss 19 is still driving on her Learner's Licence having never sat her Restricted.

Not only was she carrying passengers on this occasion in breach of her licence. Last year she was doing a training course away from home and using her mother's car to commute WITH HER PARENTS FULL PERMISSION unsupervised.

Better still this girl is now a qualified Nanny so it is conceivable that she will not think twice about driving a car with somebody elses children on board.

Secretary is in a bit of a quandary, this girl's mother is in a position of moral responsibility and in training to go higher up the ladder. She is also someone the secretary is going to get a reference off when applying for paid work.

So far the secretary has wimped out of expressing her true condemnation and just commented that the girl is risking a big expensive fine. Should she speak out?

Changing the driving age from 15 to 16 has been calculated as saving 4 lives a year. The problem is that there are 120,000 drivers caught every year driving in breech of their Learner's and Restricted Licence conditions.

How many, like Miss 19 are not caught?

How many of these law breakers are responsible for deaths and injuries on our roads?

I wager it is more that the number of lives that raising the driving age and toughening the test for a Restricted licence will save.

Changing the law will not alter the actions of those not obeying the law as it stands nor make them easier to catch.

Eldest Kid is not even getting behind the wheel of the old car before the insurance is changed to cover her and she will not be driving it in breech of her licence.

Only time will tell if that will make her a better driver than Miss 19 but it will make her a more law abiding one.

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