Raising Driving age the wrong answer

Ok I’ve had it with people who think raising the driving age will miraculously solve a non-problem of reducing the road-toll.

It is pathetic to focus on age as the panacea and our road-toll has been lowering because of the advent of new technologies such as crumple zones, side intrusion beams, air-bags for Africa etc. It will continue to drop.

Driving is one of the things that you get better at through practice, a little like flying, the more hours you log the better in theory you get. It is the reason a graduated driving licence scheme was introduced, it is the same reason why you can’t be a commercial pilot without a certain number of flight hours under the belt and then flight hours with different types of aircraft. In fact there is no age limit for flying an aircraft and obtaining a licence to operate an aircraft. I’ve read all the docs, it doesn’t mention age even once. All it mentions is time. For a PPL (Private Pilots Licence) you need to log 40-50 hours. You could theoretically be 12 years old and as long as you meet the general criteria you can qualify.

In the Heavy Transport industry it is the same. You start off with a Class 2 licence, then with education and practice you can gain a Class 4 licence. With practice driving with differing types of trailers you can gain a Class 3 and then with more practice and testing and education again finally a Class 5 licence. All the time building skills so you can handle the vehicles and weights of the vehicles you are licenced to drive. It take hard work and dedication to finally get a Class 5 licence. When you do get it you sure as hell don’t want to lose it in a hurry because of the time effort and cost of obtaining it. Literally blood, sweat and tears have gone into getting the Class 5.

So in the Heavy transport industry they have a highly graduated licence system based on time, training and measured and test skill level. To ride a motorcycle it is the same. You can’t go out and the 1000cc Jappa organ donation machine straight away you need a 250cc and under licence forst then after time, testing and the appropriate skill level you can get the more qualified licence. Again with the W,T,R anf F licences it si the same. That is wheels, tracks, rollers and forklift. Yes you need a special licence to properly operate a forklift.

While I mention Wheels, Tracks and Rollers Licences I need to bring up that you can join the Army at 17, after Basic training take up trade trading and if you join the Armoured Corp or transport Corp be trained in all of the above and if you are good get it all by the time you are 18. Got that. We could have a situation where a trained and qualified Armour Corp member isn’t actually allowed to drive his LAV3 because he would only just be able to start to drive. It is ludicrous.

If you can join the Army and theoretically be called to serve your country at 17 it is nonsensical to be forbidden to gain a drivers licence before you are 18.

Learning to driving is something that needs time, skill and patience. By moving it out to 18 you are simply asking for the road toll statistics to be moved upwards. You would have older, more moneyed people able to buy bigger faster cars because of their wallet size and not be able to handle them because they have little “stick time”. The problem isn’t solved, it is moved. You still have dickheads with no skills driving like morons on the road simply because they haven’t be allowed to put in the time to get the skill level.

Good grief, you can leave school at 15 and so now after leaving school and obtaining a modest job which was better than sitting at school pissing everyone off you now can’t get your drivers licence to drive to work. you are consigned to the horrors of public transport. It is a farce.

I for one will start teaching my children to drive when they turn 13, so that when they get to 15 they already have substantial time behind the wheel.

Another anomaly is that our 16 year old who isn’t allowed to drive can apply for an obtain a firearms licence. Personally I think it should be lower to encourage more youth into firearm related sports. By age 16 they are pretty set into other sports and so firearm based sports fall by the wayside. But let’s consider this, a 16 year old applies for and obtains his firearms licence because he wants to go hunting with his other mates. Good Kiwi bush skills and all that. They live say in Taupo and are literally 30 minutes from prime hunting territory in the Kaimanawa Ranges, a State Forest.? He obtains the licence and buys a nice Ruger Model 77 second hand in .270 calibre and his mates variously get an old Mauser in 8mm and a couple of Lee-Enfield’s in .303 calibre. Incidentally more deer in NZ have been shot by Lee-Enfield .303’s than any other calibre. So they want to go hunting. Except they can’t because they aren’t allowed their drivers licence until they are 18 and even then they still can’t take one vehicle because they are on a restricted licence and can’t carry passengers and so now they would have to take four vehicles. For the greenies that for sure is raising the carbon footprint for a simple hunting trip through the roof. Our good keen lads can own a rifle legally and kill deer, goats and possums legally but aren’t allowed to drive a car. Ludicrous.

Right I think that pretty much destroys any argument for raising the driving age. You can own a firearm, get a pilots licence, join the army all before you are 18 when some morons think you should be able to drive a car.