They’ve finally moved the trophy smashed up car that was driven a few hundred metres into a house following a row and a stabbing in said house on New Year’s Eve, a few roads from my office. Although it wouldn’t have applied, it got me thinking about the whole thing of dangerous driving. Dangerous driving is the norm round these parts, and the ideas of bothering to stop when a light is red, or to indicate when turning, are alien.
So, here are my suggestions for a radical reform of the whole road user culture.
First, a driving re-test should have to be taken every 10 years. A driving licence should only be valid for 10 years at a time, and to get it extended for a further ten years, during the final year a re-test should be taken. It doesn’t need to be as comprehensive as the original test, but it should consist of an examiner sitting in whilst the driver completes a given route. The examiner should be watching for bad habits and should have the ability to fail the driver if a safe standard isn’t reached, instantly reducing the driver to ‘Learner’ status instead of having a full licence. He should also give advice about what he observed and what the driver needs to be wary of, even if he passes. A few random test questions should be asked relating to the Highway Code, including highlighting any new or changed roadsigns or procedures that have happened in the last ten years.
It is utter madness that a person can be tested once when they are a teenager, and are then licensed to drive until they are 70. That’s a long time during which the driver’s abilities can be seriously impaired or change. Quite frankly, it’s dangerous having people on the road who took a test so long ago. We need to be tested every 10 years, and licences should only run for 10 years!
Second, here’s something I really love. The Co-op does a Young Driver insurance scheme whereby for a reduced premium they install a tracker into a Young Driver’s car and monitor the driving. The driving is given a score which goes down whenever the speed limit is broken, or care doesn’t seem to be being taken on certain roads.
The lower the score the more the driver has to pay for the next month’s insurance payment. The higher the score, the less the driver has to pay.
This is a completely brilliant idea. It should be rolled out to every car and for all ages and it should be compulsory as part of any person’s insurance. Quite simply it would mean that careful and considerate drivers would find their insurance premiums going down dramatically, whilst those who are more reckless and erratic would find their premiums going up to huge amounts, and should they consistently and persistently drive badly, the insurance company could refuse their cover, ultimately forcing them to stop driving.
Overall, the roads would be safer. 2,000 people die on the roads each year in the UK (that’s five a day), with the same again being maimed and injured. Most usually this is due to bad drivers. If this number of people were dying each year due to a pandemic bird flu we would be panicked into taking drastic action, and there would be uproar if that figure didn’t start to reduce.
There are things we can do to make the roads safer, and that is to adopt the compulsory re-test and the tracking of driving speeds I’ve suggested. It’s time to campaign for change!