A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Monday, July 25, 2005

Driving on the right (lines)?

An Arab once said to me, “You know, you British, you can be so stupid sometimes!” He said it with a sad look in his face as if he wished it were not so!

In the Netherlands, it is compulsory for all novice drivers to attend driving school. These schools are carefully inspected by the government for fairness and price competitiveness. Drivers get offered various sets of lessons, but the favourite appears to be learning in 10 lessons. Drivers learn all types of driving situations, including motorway and in-town driving. The cost is around £300, I believe. This is a one-off payment to learn to drive. About 50% pass first time. There is no quibbling at all with this policy. Dutch drivers have fewer accidents than most European countries and probably the world. Motor insurance, therefore, is exceptionally reasonable. Insurance is something motorists pay annually until the day they hang their car keys up!

In the UK, learners drivers plod around with family members and friends picking up all manner of bad habits, such as not bothering with 30mph speed limits, running red lights, not indicating before turning, and other anti-social behaviours. If they do go to a driving school, it costs a lot of money. Britain has a higher rate of accidents than the Netherlands and pays much higher annual premiums.

When I first started driving there were 2.5 million private cars on the road. Now there are TEN times as many! Are we stupid for not teaching all new drivers properly and are we stupid for paying high premiums for our whole motoring life?

I think my Arab acquaintance would be nodding!


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