Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Nanny can't drive

Oswald and Lindsay Mitchell together bust the rapidly developing myth that teenagers' driving is out of control, is getting worse, and urgently requires restrictions.

Trouble is, while there's been an increase in headlines that suggest teenagers' driving is getting progressively worse, and there's been a concomitant increase in hysteria over teenagers' driving, the statistics show a completely different story about teenage driving itself. As Lindsay points out, if safe driving is your criteria then the statistics on young drivers are actually getting better, not worse.
The performance of 15-19 year-old drivers has improved significantly. Twenty years ago they accounted for 16.9 percent of accidents involving fatalities. Last year they made up 11.7 percent. An even bigger drop applies to 20-24 year-olds from 22.2 to 11.9% percent. Perhaps some attention should be paid to older age groups.
So despite the headlines, the driving of teenagers is actually getting better -- a disturbing sign for those who look for a bit of spirit in the next generation.

However, if it's bad driving you want, then Oswald points out where attention should really be paid: to the group making the most noise about imposing restrictions on other people's driving. That's right, it turns out that as a group the country's worst drivers are those driving politicians' self drive cars. And the biggest irony? Annette King, leading the charge against bad young drivers today is also responsible for "the most serious smash" in this 2001 report:
her car was in a head-on accident in December 2000 and was written off. The driver of the other car was in intensive care for six days.
So perhaps the minister should be looking closer to both home and House before casting stones further afield at young drivers who (unlike King's family and parliamentary colleagues) are becoming increasingly responsible.


  1. Young drivers (15-24) are 3 to 7 times more likely to crash than older drivers, with attendant injuries and fatalities.



  2. JC, the hysteria is about how teenage driving is getting worse.

    It isn't. Quite the contrary.

  3. JC:

    Statistically, drivers with penises are more likely to crash than those with vaginas, with attendant injuries and fatalities.

    Your mileage may vary on whether that's much of an argument for banning men from legally owning or driving vehicles.

  4. PC,

    Of course there's less teenage deaths, they are a falling percentage of the population; and conversely there's a larger proportion in the older age classes.


  5. Craig, as a matter of interest, males crash far more than females in the 15-24 bracket. But did you notice that after that, females catch up and pass the rate for men?



1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.