February 25th, 2006 at 10:39pm
Surgeons are being very careful about the way they ask for the minimum licencing age to be increased, by putting it somewhere in the middle of a request for uniform licence laws. The useful and interesting part of their request is this statement by Dr Russel Stitz, President of The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
The parts of the brain that address reasoning and impulsive behaviour don’t fully mature until the age of 25 particularly in males, so if we’re looking at processes to improve the road toll in those age groups then patently we need to take that into consideration
I must say that I agree with this, although I do think some people mature at an earlier age than others. What we really lack in our licencing system is a rigorous common sense test, and car power restrictions.
Having been through college and seen many friends gain licences and subsequently add more lunacy to the roads, I really think we shouldn’t be letting anyone learn to drive until at least 18 years of age. In my view, driving a motor vehicle is an inherently adult activity, and something which requires a truly mature person with a level head.
Despite this minimum, I am not proposing that we merely increase the minimum ages for various driving activities, I am also suggesting that training should be longer and harder, with a requirement for a professional instructor (either an instructor or someone who drives for a living such as a bus or truck driver with a clean record), and we need some kind of common sense test. The last part may be hard to implement, but it would certainly save a lot of carnage. I would also force drivers to resit these tests every five years, and existing drivers to be bound by the new laws. Yes, that means removing a lot of people who would be underage under the new laws from the roads.
I would also remove licence fees, for those with a clean record, but increase them by $100 for every demerit point accumulated. I would also overhaul the demerit point system to be tougher.
Some may see these ideas as draconian measures, but if we are serious about saving lives on our roads, then we need to consider this kind of thing, and this is a good start. It would probably remove about 20% of road users, but they would be the 20% likely to kill you or your family, the 20% who don’t consider the consequences of travelling 30km/h over the speed limit on a wet and bendy road, the 20% that really shouldn’t have been issued with licences in the first place.
Entry Filed under: Samuel's Editorials