22 April 2008
Daft restrictions on young drivers
Rob Fisher

It’s threatening to go beyond nods and winks.  “One of Stormont’s youngest politicians” has made some proposals:

  • Total alcohol ban for newly qualified drivers;
  • a curfew that would stop young motorists from driving at night;
  • a ban on them carrying teenage passengers.

This is just the usual ill-thought-out posturing that’s difficult to argue against because everyone can agree that one teenage road death is one too many, so any measures to reduce deaths are justified.  It’s not true because if you think about it, some risk is acceptable, or else we wouldn’t drive at all or we’d have universal 5mph speed limits.

And if you think about it, there are some obvious problems with this scheme:  A total alcohol ban doesn’t make any more sense with young drivers than it does with older ones, it just punishes innocent people who have drunk a harmless amount.  What happens when a young motorist is stranded in a remote location past the curfew?  How are young motorists to get experience of night driving?  And the passenger ban has been tried elsewhere.  It just results in more cars on the road with teenage drivers.

But proposals like these are about the politics of beeing seen do be doing something to protect the children.  They don’t have to make any sense.

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