Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

Driving us mad

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texting_behind_the_wheel_1600_wht_10007It may not come as any surprise to learn that there are people driving round in the UK with over 30 points on their driving licences (12 within 3 years being the normal number for a disqualification).

A women in London accumulated 42 points after failing to name the driver of her car for a series of traffic offences and a man from Warrington was given 36 points after he was caught without insurance six times in a month last year but still allowed to carry on driving!

These are just some of the examples uncovered by the Institute for Advanced Motorists after a freedom of information request. Apart from drivers allowed to keep their licences due to hardship others are juts forgotten about because of a lack of communication between computers at the Department of Justice and the DVLA. Well that’s OK then.

Some good news about tackling bad driving habits though as the Transport Secretary has ordered police to crack down on drivers using mobile phones as evidence mounts that the law is being flouted by millions of drivers. You’ve all seen them; lorry drivers driving their heavy loads with one hand and people driving round roundabouts chatting away on their phones. And not just chatting but texting as well (how do they do that?).

The numbers of fixed penalty notices has been dropping although the fine for using a mobile phone has just increased from £60 to £100. Perhaps they should confiscate and destroy the phone as well but it would probably be a breach of their “human rights” (to endanger other road users).

The Transport Secretary is meeting with the Association of Police Chief Officers (ACPO) in November to review how the new penalty system is being enforced. He says his department is considering getting tougher by doubling the penalty points to 6 and forcing young drivers to retake their test if caught using a phone during their first two years of driving.

He is also concerned about the number of accidents young drivers have (25% of the total) and may be proposing graduated licences where young drivers could be banned from late night driving or be restricted in the number of passengers they can carry. The Association of British Insurers claims that barring young drivers from driving between 2300 and 0400, restricting them to one passenger under the age of 20, and enforcing a zero drink-drive limit, would reduce premiums by 20%.

Parents are also concerned about their children driving. According to a survey by Direct Line insurance almost half of parents would welcome “black box” curbs on young drivers i.e. the installation of a mandatory GPS tracking device. Moreover 75% of parents believed that such measures are an acceptable way of reducing insurance premiums for their children (as they are probably paying for it for them) and almost the same proportion thought it would reduce danger for inexperienced drivers.

Insurance premiums have doubled in the last two years for drivers aged 17-22 to an average of £1,860 for males and £1,464 for females. Direct Line offers a 20% discount for drivers who have black boxes fitted (hence their interest in doing this research).


Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?