Here in NSW, Australia to get a standard car drivers license, you need to pass the Drivers Knowledge Test, know as the DKT. The following is from the Road Transport Authority’s website:
What is the DKT?
The DKT is a computer-based road rules knowledge test. You have to answer 45 questions.
The computer selects the questions at random from a question bank of more than 600. You will first be asked 15 general knowledge questions and you need to get at least 12 correct. You will then be asked 30 road safety questions (including traffic signs) and you need to get at least 29 correct.
These are people, mostly teens, that are either still in school or just out. They have been learning for quite a number of years and so should have the skills necessary to learn what is needed. All well and good. But, and it is a big but, why when this is a life or death situation, are they not having to achieve 100%? I find this amazing. RTA statistics:
There have been huge improvements in road safety over the past 25 years.The annual road toll in NSW has fallen from a high of 1384 in 1978 to 510 in 2004. The reduction in road deaths has occurred despite significant growth in population, vehicle numbers and kilometres travelled.
Yet young people continue to be over-represented in road crash statistics.
When they are not being adequately educated it is not surprising. I do not think the amount of proper education behind the wheel is of a sufficient standard. When you learn to fly a plane you also have to learn about aerodynamics, ie how the plane handles under different atmospheric conditions etc. These ‘teens’ should have to learn more about how cars handle under different conditions, motor sizes, power to weight ratios, so they have a better understanding of how to handle them in less than optimal conditions. A proper understanding of the risks involved and the consequences would be an advantage as well.
Just having them recite answers to questions till they know them by heart without any real understanding behind it is not a proper way to treat our young. The problems associated with young drivers is more our fault than theirs. It is up to us as adults and parents to teach our young and yet we are letting them down.
I know that they would not want it to be harder for them to obtain a license, but good things aren’t always necessarily easy to come by. Some of the best things take time and effort. This also makes them more aware of the responsibility being placed upon them. Let’s stop throwing their lives away and start teaching them that a drivers license is a right that must be earned, not just given to them. When talking to your children and/or politicians, make the point that this isn’t about cost or time, but about the lives of our young. When are we going to stop putting prices on their lives? Is $200 the amount you think it should cost to teach your child to drive? If that $200 doesn’t give them the skills they need to drive safely, then it isn’t enough? What amount is? If we can name a figure, then we are caring less about them than the money it will cost us.