Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Why age ban won't make roads safer

As the Assembly considers introducing an age ban on young drivers the carnage on our roads continues.

Entitlement and freedom to drive comes with responsibility. All drivers need to demonstrate responsible driving. In some respects, young people need a licence as much as other member of our community. They should not be restricted by any blanket ban.

Responsibility also rests with the vehicle industry and statutory agencies. There would seem to be much scope for car manufacturers, dealerships, and insurance companies to take a greater role in ensuring that drivers exercise responsibility and, where necessary, place controls on irresponsible drivers.

Statutory agencies have struggled and continue their efforts to reduce road carnage, but they cannot succeed alone.

Vehicle manufacturers ought to stop offering vehicles with what is effectively a free insurance deal for first time drivers, to fit speed limiters as a legal requirement, and provide the mechanism for facilitating the fitting of an instrument for recording the vehicle's driving history.

For the insurance industry there is scope for incentives in reduced insurance costs based on a requirement for the driver to have demonstrated responsible driving.

Such responsibility is show by the fitting of a vehicle data recording device and producing this information when requested by the insurance company.

Existing technology, a tachograph or GPS instrument, could effectively change the driving behaviour of not just young persons, but all drivers. The cost of having such a device installed could be offset by attracting the incentive of reduced insurance costs.

Where the information provided indicates driving which may attract greater risk, such as recorded examples of frequent late night driving, or speeding, the cost of insurance would reflect the additional risk profile and provide penalties for the driver.

There is a real need to stop road carnage. The present position is intolerable in any civilised society. Today or tonight it could be a member of your family. I welcome the debate within the Assembly, but it will take more than debate.

Let's see action driven by strong innovative leadership, not just by the Assembly but by all concerned.



TOMMY DOWDS

Broughshane

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