DRIVING – AGE OR EXPERIENCE

Categories: Policy, Political

Popular opinion often assumes that raising the age for driving would decrease the number of accidents and deaths. This assumes that an inexperienced eighteen year old is safer than an inexperienced driver born a year later.

This article, although related to motorcycles, is relevant to all driving licences since the equalising of the ages for cars and motorcycles.

In the 1950’s, legislation was passed to raise the age for riding motorcycles but not implemented due to evidence suggesting the effect would be the opposite to that assumed. Two decades later, the minister decided to raise the age regardless. As predicted, increasing numbers of deaths followed.

This unpublished article is a warning against following popular opinion in legislation and of the dangers inherent in the Statutory Instrument as a ministerial power.

The article was written prior to the lowering of the age for driving lorries and buses from 21 to 18 which occured with very little public interest. It also precedes the Northern Ireland restrictions on young drivers. My research continues in these areas as well as the demotion of teenagers to children; a source of puzzlement to those of us who left school at fifteen or even fourteen for many existing pensioners.