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Banning young drivers at night "will save lives"

YOUNG drivers should be banned from the road at night for the safety of themselves and others, most motorists believe. With 5,419 people killed or seriously injured in accidents involving a young driver last year, 76 per cent agreed there should be restrictions on newly qualified 17- to 24-year-olds, a survey showed.

Three out of five thought they should have lessons for at least 12 months before taking their tests with the same figure being in favour of a driving curfew between 11pm and 4am.
"A car is potentially a lethal weapon and we must do more to help young drivers deal better with the dangers of driving." said James Dalton, of the Association of British Insurers, which commissioned the YouGov poll.
"Radical action is needed to reduce the tragic waste of young lives on our roads, especially among the 17-24 age group."

Speaking at the start of Road Safety Week, Mr Dalton also pointed to figures which show that 40 per cent of 17-year- old males have an accident in their first six months of driving.
He called on the government to support its campaign "to help young people become tomorrow's safe drivers.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin revealed at the weekend that the government was "considering any ideas that reduce the risks of accidents involving young drivers" including a ban on carrying passengers who were not family members - or any extra people at all.

Young Driver


Editors Comment:

Personally, I think they have it completely wrong. That is like saying you cannot trust the driving test. If the test is good enough, then the driver should be safe. If you honestly believe that a driver can pass a test to drive a car, but not be considered safe to drive on the road, then the driving test is fundamentally flawed.

What criteria did the Association of British Insurers use for this ground breaking survey? Was it based upon their own rules? You know, the ones that say we will try to find any possible way to avoid paying out for a claim if we can think of any spurious reason not to? Are they saying that in their opinion, a young driver should be banned from driving at night because that is when they are most unsafe? Who decides these things? Do I dare suggest that it is just another way to artificially raise the premiums or perhaps avoid paying out for valid claims?

It is all too easy to criticise the young. They have no experience, they do not have the skills, they do not know how to react. I think these arguments don't count when they are recruiting young men to go out to Afghanistan, where they need lightning quick reactions and the ability to make split-second decisions. But then they aren't deciding whether its safe to turn right on Whickham Highway, they're wondering whether their decision will get themselves blown up or a bullet in the head.

Give the kids some credit, for God's sake. They are the future, they are what we were when we were their age. We knew absolutely what we were doing, and we took the risks, we tested the water, we lived on the edge. If we fell over we expected that our insurance would cover the cost, and we knew we would have to pay more next year because of it. These days, the Insurers spend millions trying to avoid paying out at any cost. I repeat, at any cost. To them, if they can avoid that, it sets a precedent so in future they can deny liability.
That's just wrong. Life is a risky enterprise, and we live on the edge every day. We dodge the traffic as pedestrians, we plug electrics in with wet hands, we jump gaps we shouldn't and smile when we make it.

Life, and living it, shouldn't be mollycoddled, wrapped in cotton wool, safe, secure, and with no risk whatsoever. We thrive on living on the edge. we love the thrill of the chase, we desperately need to know that we can do the things that test us. If not for the people that live on the edge, we would be a race of boring, staid individuals, no better than librarians and no more exciting than Quorn.

Let the youngsters drive at night. Let them find their way and let them grow into their driving the way we learn all things, by experience. Let them learn and hone their skills the way we did, by making mistakes, by getting it wrong occasionally. Let them join Whickham and Distric Motor Club, or any Motor Club that passionatly believes in the youngsters of today. Only then, will we have a society of drivers that have got the skills that frankly, many more mature drivers lack because they have become lazy, disinterested and blase about their driving. Get the youngsters into a Motor Club where they will be encouraged to learn, to develop, and to hone their skills.

For Heaven's sake dont leave it to either Central Government or the Insurers. That would be a mistake of catastrophic proportions.

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