Sunday, October 22, 2006

Safe drivers

Longrider has an interesting piece about a call from the safety lobby for the driving licence age to be raised to 18. This follows the death of a baby in an accident caused by a 14 year old driver.
Campaigners called on the government to raise the driving licence age from 17 to 18, with a one-year minimum training period and pointed to the disproportionate number of young male drivers involved in road deaths. Men aged 17 to 20 account for three per cent of drivers but make up a third of convictions for dangerous driving while studies suggest that young men are almost 10 times more likely to be killed than experienced motorists.
As Longrider points out, the logic is flawed since on the evidence presented the age for driving licences should be 20. And of course this is a classic case of the logical fallacy of the slippery slope. If our only criteria for assessing a suitable age for driving is safety, then we should only let people drive when they are at their safest (children will die otherwise, you understand).

According to this study, this would appear to be between the ages of thirty and forty. So the correct policy is to allow driving licences to be issued to those who have passed their thirtieth birthdays and to revoke them after the fortieth. This particular slippery slope is longer than one might expect.

I'm sure I'll live to see it.