Tuesday 22 April 2008

Inexperienced Drivers

In Northern Ireland drivers must display a Learner plate until they pass their driving and theory tests, then for the next 12 months must display a R plate, the R represents 'restricted', and during this time must adhere to a 45 mile per hour speed limit.
No evidence or research exists to prove the road safety benefits of the R plate scheme. It was introduced in Northern Ireland as a pilot with a view to national rollout throughout the UK. It never happened, it did not demonstrate sufficient benefits for it to be considered.
Today, in the NI Assembly, some no mark MLA has decided that the future of road safety in our rural, non-urban little country should include night curfews on young drivers and no passengers under 25.
I believe we need a constructive and intelligent debate on this emotive issue, but I fail to see how banning inexperienced drivers after 9pm thru 6am will sort out the problem of road safety. When was the last time anyone saw a traffic cop in the evening? never, so who is going to police this? Its just pointless rhetoric which seeks to provide answers without looking at the questions.
At 18 you can vote, drink alcohol, get married (without parental consent), go to war (and probably get shot) but not drive a car at night? Are we seriously suggesting a young married man / woman of 18 or 19 can't drive his car with his wife / her husband (and potentially children) at night? This is just nonsense.
We need road safety, we need an end to young drivers dying, but we do not need this continuing nanny state approach.