It’s an election year. Abortions, guns, war, immigration, taxes, pollution, terrorism, poverty, unemployment, the usual topics that are debated over and over. If elected I plan to……… Most of the major topics are things that we don’t deal with on a first-hand bases, we usually just see the topics brought up on the news. I’m not arguing that any of these topics are not important, but I do feel there are a few areas, although maybe not as important, still could use some attention.
If you noticed the title, Driver’s Education is an area that I am speaking about, and if given some additional attention, I feel, could benefit our daily lives. Here are some USA driving statistics: 37,000 annual deaths, 2.35 million injuries, $820 annual cost per person, 1 in 470 odds of getting into an accident. We all brush it under the rug. Anytime you have any slight fear of dying in a plane crash, roller coaster, spider bite, bomb explosion, heart-attack, or natural causes, someone will always calm you down by say how much more likely you are to die while driving to work. The funny thing is, that works for some reason.
We all accept it, buckle-up, do 5 over, flip the occasional bird, tail-gate the slow asshole in front of you doing only 4 over, and fail to move over to the crazy maniac doing 6 over coming up behind you. Maybe there is no cure, we are all selfish assholes who just want to break the current world record of getting from your driveway to the mall. After all we love the feeling of being Iron Man (completely surrounded by metal with the illusion of being indestructible) (think about it, if some one cuts you off while in the grocery store your not gonna speed up get back in front of them and break check them all while screaming obscenities, if only grocery shopping was that entertaining and if we were all that vocal).
Now other than jamming a greater sense of responsibility down peoples throats, I would actually rather see either different license classes, other than just for the the max weight of a vehicle, or a more in depth driver training course from the start. We go to school for 12 years, we either go to college or an apprenticeship for 2-6 year after that, internships last a few months at least, and once you actually get a job you need a good 5 years of basic experience in order to move to a higher position. Yet, for driving 9 months of permit time, 56 hours of actual driving time, and 30 hours of education time. At least you need to above a B. However, if you are above 18, all you need is a 6 hour course. No requirement for, weather, speed, highway, day/night; nothing too difficult until a 16 year old get caught driving in their first snow storm, but it’s OK, it’s all trial and error, hope for the best,in gods hands, at that point. Hope they don’t hit anything, well I guess your insurance company does, so they can charge you a higher rate…..hmmmmm. Who is gonna sponsor the Sugar Bowl now? Now it may be different in some states or I may have misread a few of the requirements, but the main point is that it takes far less time than any other part of our life that requires training.
The Motorsports enthusiast in me, always goes back to my days playing racing video game, Gran Turismo to be exact. There you needed to pass more and more difficult license tests in order to compete in the bigger/better races or buy the faster cars. Perhaps, something similar to that would be good to offer incentives for people to continue their automotive education. One of the first ideas I had was to offer an advanced drivers course where you are able to develop driving skills, wet conditions, icy conditions, highway etiquette, accident simulations, road rage, car maintenance etc.
Now, personally I would think those previous groups should be integrated into the standard driving course, but we cannot make it too hard. The automobile is too critical in how we go about our daily lives. Everyone needs to be able to use one, even if they have no idea how to drive in all situations that they may come across. It’s fine, they’ll just pick that stuff up as they go along. Just like taxes, buying a home, having a baby, budgeting your money, or credit cards, no education system will explain it, you will just learn it as you go along, or else pay the price.
OK, I’ll try to stay off the soap-box and stay on target. The positives from offering advanced courses would be increased revenues for the state, safer roads, and educated drivers. I’d also suggest offering an incentive upon competition a lower insurance rate, a tax break, an express line at the DMV, or (personal favorite) a higher allowed speed limit (if you are trained in how to safely travel at a higher rate of speed why not). However, when given these incentives the penalty for abusing the privilege should be harsh. At the very least, say you get pulled over for reckless driving, a DUI, running a red light, or any other kind of major violation, you lose your advance license and all it’s privileges for at least 10 years if not forever.
In short, this has been pretty much a wish-list of how people approached driving or how the world worked, but in reality we will still come across the assholes of the road, both slow and fast. However, there was a time when seat-belts, air-bags, car seats, and collapsible searing columns were not required, so maybe it just needs some time and further discussion. Imagine a world where you weren’t more likely to be killed in an automobile accident. Imagine not worrying about you 16 year old son/daughter driving through their first winter. Imagine a reality where driving in your has less of a health risk than were to stop to eat or the type of fuel you put into your vehicle.
Obviously, this won’t be a complete fix, there will still be bad drivers. After all we have schools, religions, parks, gyms, police stations, and hospitals, but we still have dumb ass-hole recluse over-weight illegal unhealthy people. Yet, for the most part, I feel, there are a great number of motorists who simply, don’t know. They don’t know how to properly drive in the snow. They don’t know how to change their oil. They don’t know that motorcycles exist. They don’t know how to react when their tire blows out. They don’t know why turn signals are necessary. What if they did know? What if they could go to a place and practice?
Think about it.