Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New restrictions for young drivers

It seems the government and the insurance industry have got it in for young drivers.

After a letter was published today in the Daily Telegraph urging tougher rules for young drivers, it looks likely there will be action taken to impose curfews, a zero limit on alcohol and a minimum one-year learning period for all young motorists.

The coalition of police chiefs, insurance companies and road safety campaigners are lobbying the government to fulfill its promises to get tough on road safety, particularly on boy racers and inexperienced young tearaways who cause more carnage behind the wheel than any other demographic.

2,500 people aged 16 to 25 were killed or seriously injured in cars driven by young drivers in the last two years. But it’s unclear how effective – or indeed how fair – it is to penalise all young drivers. If we were talking about female or elderly drivers, it’s unlikely the government or the road safety lobby would feel comfortable in making such arbitrary proposals.

It will be nigh-on impossible to police a night-time curfew, and the zero-tolerance for alcohol could be difficult to avoid miscarriages of justice. Traces of alcohol remain in the blood long after the effects have worn off, and to prevent night-time driving, the over-stretched police force would have to stop and identify people who look young behind the wheel after dark.

The answer may be in longer training periods or more effective practical driving tests. But discrimination on this scale is simply replacing one societal ill with another.


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