Thursday, April 20, 2017

Time to update driver education for everyone

Last week there was another call for drivers over 70 to be compulsorily retested. While I understand the issue being raised and feel for the context in which it is raised (the loss of a family member to an older driver who 'loses control' of a car), it does seem to be something of a generalisation. Are all drivers over 70 more potentially dangerous than those under 70?

In these days of alternative facts, let me offer a few generalisations of my own.

I have never seen a driver over 70:

  • Fumble around using a mobile 'phone
  • Try to apply their make-up
  • Overtake on a pedestrian crossing
  • Use a right turn only lane to jump the queue
  • Listening to music so loud it make my car vibrate and clearly indicates they can't hear anything else
  • Do a seated version of a dance
  • Eat a MacDonald's meal
  • Carry a cup of coffee between their knees
  • Answer their 'phone and write in their diary, steering with their knees
I'm also pretty convinced that the motorcyclists and drivers who clearly exceed the 30mph speed limit through the village outside my house are not over 70, and of the 3 or 4 significant accidents that have happened on our road, none have involved anyone over 70.

It would appear that it's not the over 70's who need to be reeducated and retested!

As an alternative to putting everyone under pressure to pass a test, and let's be honest everyone can pass or fail a test, why not look at ways to encourage continual education. Why should safer driving courses only be something you attend in order to avoid having points added to your licence? Having attended such a course, I actually found it really interesting and helpful. And yes, I did change the way I did some things.

Perhaps we ought also to look at the process learning to drive. Make it more modular, demonstrating key skills as you progress over a minimum timeframe of say 2 years. Teaching people defensive driving skills and developing better habits and understanding of why the rules of the road are there.

Retesting is not the answer.