Response to new calls for night-time curfews
There’s a lot of talk this morning about a report by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) for the RAC Foundation, which has calculated the percentage of crashes involving 17 to 19 year old drivers.
The report suggests the introduction of graduated driver licensing (GDL), limiting the number of passengers young people are allowed in the car, restricting allowed alcohol level and putting curfews on late night driving.
The TRL justifies this with figures that show 11.9% of
all road casualties involve teenagers in some way.
Now, all due respect to the authors of the report and everything they're doing for road safety - but I can’t just smile and nod when curfews and restrictions are mentioned. I support any measure that helps young drivers in their decision to be safe, but the point is that it has to be their decision, based on good education and a better attitude to the road.
Restricting the freedom of young drivers doesn’t educate about road safety; it actually breeds resentment. How can an 18 year old bar manager – or parent, or part-time student – manage their commitments around a curfew? They can’t.
And what about the serious effect that a driving curfew would have on our already cut-stricken police force? Enforcing new night-time driving legislation based on age would be a nightmare that distracts police from attending emergencies and clamping down on the big issues such as uninsured drivers.
With regard to the graduated licence concept; it has its merits. However, at ingenie we believe that the approach should be of graduated learning rather than graduated licensing, which would impose limitations rather than introduce more education.
60% of drivers fail their practical test the first time, so clearly it’s hard enough to pass already - we don’t need to make it even harder. Instead, we need to make sure that drivers have the right number of professional and private driving hours before taking the practical test, so we can put a stop to so-called ‘natural’ drivers getting on the road before they should.
On the flip side, we do wholeheartedly agree with the report’s zero tolerance focus on alcohol. Learning to drink responsibly is a big deal in itself and can be deadly when combined with learning to drive responsibly.
Telematics gives teens a choice. They can choose to be responsible for making their insurance costs lower with better driving, to be treated as an individual and to give their parents peace of mind that they’re driving safely.
Only education and attitude can make drivers safer in the long run, so that’s what we should be working on - not adding driving restrictions to the list of hurdles facing young people.
By Richard King
As founder of ingenie, Richard is passionate about helping young drivers get on the road safely and affordably. He appears on TV campaigning to improve young driver safety.