Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Young drivers and the law

I laud any new safety laws for young, or old drivers!
When our kid were young we gave them rules. We know enough about safe driving habits that they take years to happen. We have to be vigilant until they learn responsibility. They all took lessons from reputable driver's education schools.

That said, we know enough about the brain, and brain development, that new drivers are still too unsteady to be trusted with other families' children. When we drive, as adults, we have put the safe operation of a vehicle into the lower part of the brain, where we can automatically respond, as required, to unsafe driving conditions, and sudden noise or interference by moving or immovable objects.

But new drivers are still using the prefrontal cortex to operate a piece of machinery capable of wiping out a family in a minute. Their brain cells are madly generating new ideas, new thoughts, creating new patterns, as they attempt to mast the complex operation of a vehicle: checking for blind spots, distractions within and without the vehicle, backing up, parallel parking.

When I look at the dangerous driving conditions on our road in the sleet and ice of November, I believe that we cannot be too safe. In Muskoka the end up in the lake, having drunk too much, and driven to quickly. I am continuously passed by young men in vehicles driving too quickly, on curves, crossing double lines.

It amazes me that the young people (ages 15 -19) can rise up on Facebook and protest a few rules, with much of an uproar. Yet when we see victims of the carnage of our roads, we see little response. They do not have a vote. We are the ones who pay through taxes, rising insurance costs, and loss of life. You tell me how any kid was hurt by having rules? Never. Our kids were not allowed to take passengers. They distract the driver. Kids have to show off. They can not be depended upon to drive safely. They risk all of our lives and need to have limits on the privileges, as driving is not their right.

These deaths can be prevented. Traffic laws and the system should be able to predict behaviour, demonstrate serious issue that can be forecast, and protect our citizens. Those who love their friends should speak out when they see them exhibit dangerous behaviour. For those with demerit points, parents need to be proactive and take responsibilty. We forbade our sons from driving with friends until they demonstrated that they had earned the privilege to drive. Graduated licensing is a good idea. Limits never hurt anyone. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. You can help protect society. Speak out and save a life.

1 comment:

judy in ky said...

That was well said. I agree with you. I feel an even greater sense of responsibility when I am driving with my three young nieces in the car. They are not near driving age yet, but I wonder what kind of drivers they will be. They seem very aware of what other drivers are doing, and keep track of the speed limit.