No apology here in this post for returning, after only four months, to the dreadful issue of kids being put in charge of (but not always in control of) a powerful killing machine – a motor car. At that time five teenagers had just been killed in a car crash in South Yorkshire.
Last week another three lost their lives in a head on crash in South Wales, another is in a coma, and in the other car a pensioner grandmother passenger was killed and the driver seriously injured and is now fighting for his life. The dead driver of the car that lost control on a bend, to veer into the path of an oncoming car, was only seventeen years old and had just passed his driving test three days before.
You might ponder as to what the hell was this inexperienced youngster doing late at night (after 10 pm), driving a car, fully loaded with four other college students in a six car convoy of young drivers, on a dangerous mountain notorious accident blackspot’s winding road?
These tragic young deaths are the tip of the iceberg of course – so they are only in the media because the carnage makes striking headlines. Such headlines which gloss over the ongoing problem that young drivers are killing themselves (some five a day), destroying other innocent people, causing mayhem on our roads, and NOTHING is being done about it.
Teenage drivers frequently crash their cars don’t they? Yes, they say one kid in every five crashes in the first six months and a quarter of young drivers under twenty-four in the first couple of years. Young drivers are also very heavily involved in fatal accidents aren’t they? Yes, the statistics claim it is a quarter of all such accidents. These kids are twice as likely to be killed as mature drivers.
Why is all this you might ask? Perhaps it is because ‘wet behind the ears’ young impressionable adolescents, unwary, overconfident & keen to drive at excessive speed, are suddenly let off the leash, handed a clean (doesn’t stay that way for long) unrestricted lifelong driving licence, to do their thing unconstrained? Madness?
Who is culpable for all this annihilation, you might then ponder? You can’t really blame the kids who don’t know better, can you? You shouldn’t hold the parents responsible for imposing their own restrictions either, should you? No, it is our ‘out of touch’ Executive and six hundred and fifty Members of Parliament who make the inadequate driving laws, isn’t it?
Did our MPs not know of this problem then? Oh yes they certainly did indeed – this havoc has been going around for donkey’s years. So why no action by the House of Commons then? Why, but oh why, haven’t they modified the driving laws to save life & limb and to protect these vulnerable youngsters from themselves, and all others from them, on our congested roads? Oh yes, they are so busy passing new laws and amending old ones galore (as well as securing their expenses & pay rises) where it affects their own or party interests, but they see no votes in amending the driving laws – so the roadway’s destruction of lives will continue unabated, wont it?
There are many things that ought to be changed, some might be difficult but there is a simple low cost effective solution, don’t you think. Simply stamp the under twenty-one’s shiny new licence with the words “YOUNG DRIVER” which raises the licence a step-up from Provisional, but invokes certain restrictions from a Full Licence.
- Display a Y plate (youth) plate on the vehicle (to replace their previous L plate)
- Restrictions below to apply when ‘unaccompanied’ by an over twenty-one adult driver:
Passengers – no children of sixteen or under, maximum of one over sixteen non adult, or a maximum of two adults
Driving curfew – not allowed to drive at night (10 pm to 6 am),
Car class & power/ Van use – limit on car ‘performance’ and requirement that a van must be ‘unloaded’.
- Retest – new licence on drivers application at twenty-one to be reissued as a FULL licence provided there have been no crashes or points, otherwise a compulsory retest is required, with an additional assessment of driver attitude as well as competence.
[In addition parents ‘might’ consider the case made by a UK commercial organisation to get young 11 – 16 year olds learning to safely drive a real car ‘off-road’ (with dual control cars, standard road signs, and professional instructors); this while they are still of a cautious nature and wary of the power of the beast; this well before the gung-ho, risk taking, show-off attitude kicks-in. A few lessons may well cost you a bit of money but it could perhaps save your son’s or daughter’s life, when they start to drive for real on the dangerous congested roads that we now use in Britain,?].
[We all want the next generation of young drivers to benefit greatly from their first few years behind the wheel – but we want them even more to end up alive, don’t we? Then, harass your current MP (and all MP candidates in the General Election) about them taking urgent action next parliament, eh?]