Cars, cars & more cars – time we stopped them & the Drivers?

boyracer

What is the obsession with cars in this Country? In Britain, we are a small island without massive distances between places (not like say America) and we have a ‘reasonable’ but not top class public transport system, so why does everybody want to drive around in a car indeed – in fact it is worse than that isn’t it? The husband has a car, the wife has a car, and their three children each have cars to boot. There is nowhere to park them on the drive of course, so the side roads are chock-a-block with vehicles; money can be tight so tax & insurance either drive the family into penury, or are abandoned altogether; maintenance is expensive so the cars start to fall apart & become death traps; fuel costs constantly escalate and as a result the cars don’t ever go that far afield, do they?

In bygone times in Britain, cars used to be preceded by man with a red flag. There was some merit in that don’t you think? This weekend five teenagers were killed in a car crash in South Yorkshire – another terrible event to add to our mad road accident statistics to be sure. The pain and suffering in this specific tragedy cannot be properly measured, and we must simply all concern ourselves with the despair of those left behind. It is bizarre that this dreadful incident has happened so publically, immediately preceding ‘Road Safety Week’ {an annual event coordinated by the UK based international charity Brake to promote awareness of road safety issues and indeed support the bereaved].

Our big problem in the UK is that we excessively encourage car driving don’t we (so we have too many cars by far), and our society indeed makes it “cool”? That in turn means that our keen impressionable youngsters yearn to get behind the wheel and prove their virility and ‘independence’. Our indulgent processes then grants them an unrestricted lifelong licence to drive on ALL our congested roads – which many do with abandonment, a total misplaced cocky overconfidence, and frequently an innate destructive desire to show-off their superior driving skills (which they don’t have), often fuelled with alcohol. As a consequence they regularly get killed, or kill, or injure, or when lucky just write-off a shed-load of money. Parents play a major role in all this of course, and often rue the day they played along, don’t you think? Kids are Inexperienced, show much lack of attention, and often drive at excessive speed.

OK then, what ‘should happen’? Let’s stop kids driving such dangerous things on our roads when they are sixteen (motorbikes) or cars & vans at seventeen. Raise the age to eighteen (as a minimum) – youths at that age should be walking everywhere anyway and getting some valuable exercise (that would use up some of their excessive energy and reduce obesity for a start don’t you think?). When they have passed the test and have got a licence they should be ‘on probation’ and have to display a P-plate on their car (not very cool); they should NOT be authorised to carry a shed load of youngsters in their car (but say two adults over twenty-one, and only one non adult over eighteen year old, and no children whatsoever). Other restrictions should apply like not being allowed to drive at night after say ten pm, and zero consumption of alcohol (or drugs), as well as a limit on the car class/power. A compulsory retest at twenty-one should include an assessment of driver attitude as well as competence, surely? That way our roads would be safer and the next generation would be alive to live their future, wouldn’t you say?

 

[On the roads of Britain each year there are still some ‘five thousand fatalities’, over ‘twenty thousand’ seriously injured and a couple of hundred thousand badly hurt. About a quarter of fatalities accidents, and indeed crash incidents, involved a young driver. Nearly three out of twenty young drivers of seventeen or eighteen crash their cars – something needs to change surely?]

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