Tuesday, 23 February 2010

If it is an adult activity then

you should be an adult to engage in it - that means at least 18.
Why then do we allow 16yr old adolescents to get behind the wheel of a car or on the back of a motor bike? I know it is different in some places but this is the law in South Australia. You can get a licence to learn to drive on your 16th birthday. It is far too young. I suspect 18 is too young. Teenage brains are still developing. There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that not all teenagers have the physical or psychological maturity to drive.
With another election coming up neither major party seems willing to commit to raising the driving age. I am not sure why - apart from the fact that they say the move would be unpopular in rural areas where there is little or no public transport.
Teenagers, particularly male teenagers would not like it of course. It is a male rite of passage to obtain your licence, to obtain the 'old bomb' and put it through the tests that do not appear in the learner's handbook.
I have been thinking about all this because of something I have been writing. The reaction of the child in question is based on a real life incident. I was told about it in the course of some research I once did on road accidents, children and the law. It convinces me that 16 is far too young to drive. Realistically we cannot leave it beyond 18 but that should be the minimum age for a licence to learn. It should be a minimum three year process beyond that with P (probationary) plates for some until 26.
If we added virtually zero alcohol tolerance and limited the capacity of cars to go beyond the legal speed limits we might begin to reduce the road toll. None of it will happen. We do not even see driving as an adult activity. Is it, or am I wrong?

6 comments:

Tony said...

"I am not sure why - apart from the fact that they say the move would be unpopular in rural areas where there is little or no public transport."

Delete the words after 'unpopular', and you have your answer. Politics is about staying in power; doing what's best for your constituents is an after-thought.

catdownunder said...

Tony! How can you be so cynical?
:-)

Amanda Acton said...

In South Africa, you can get your learners license for 125motorcycles at 16. This lets you drive alone, not allowed passengers. At 17, you can get your learners for a car, and you have to drive with adult supervision. At 18, you can get your full license. Works great, except when the legal age to drink also just happens to be 18...

catdownunder said...

So you have the same sort of problems there as we have here...

Rachel Fenton said...

Learn at 17 in the UK - tough practical test backed up with theory test - usually takes a year to get the thing passed (or, in my case, until you're 26!)

I think kids should be made to understand what to do in the event of a traffic accident - that should help matters.

Too many school kids here driving and illegally giving lifts to their mates. Bonkers.

Had a teen reverse 6 car spaces into my car last week - never looked in her mirrors/over her shoulder - just laughed!

catdownunder said...

I do not think anyone still at school should be driving. There may be rare (very rare) exceptions but they are simply not mature enough.