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Driving/eyesight - John C. Kirk

Jan. 9th, 2014

07:53 pm - Driving/eyesight

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From:johnckirk
Date:January 10th, 2014 11:48 am (UTC)
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I agree that these tests would cost money, but I don't see that as a problem. For instance, a "First Aid at Work" qualification lasts for 3 years, and then people have to pay a training provider to do another assessment. (I don't know how much that costs, because SJA and the Red Cross don't have any prices on their websites.) Similarly, there's a trend towards having IT qualifications which expire after 3 years, e.g. CompTIA and Cisco; see my previous blog post for more details, but they typically cost about £100.

Back in 2007, I wondered whether the same logic should apply to academic exams, e.g. GCSEs: either repeat the exam every n years or take a higher exam (e.g. an A level) to keep the qualification valid. I no longer need to mention my GCSE French when I apply for jobs, but if it was important to a job then I can't claim to be anywhere near as fluent as I was back then.

I do sympathise with people who are on a tight budget, but an extra £10/year (if you do both tests every 10 years) shouldn't be too hard to budget for, particularly compared to the cost of fuel, insurance, etc. Since this is an area where mistakes get people killed, I think we (collectively) should be more restrictive about who is allowed to drive.
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From:susannahf
Date:January 10th, 2014 12:00 pm (UTC)
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SJA do have prices, if you look - £234 inc VAT for a requal.
Not that those are really comparable, since they're usually paid for by employers, not by individuals.

I think most people are capable of assessing whether a GCSE French taken 20 years ago is still relevant, based on the CV date, and work experience since then, so again, not really relevant to this argument.

It's all very well thinking about the "ideal", but PEOPLE WILL NOT DO THE EXAMS AND WILL STILL DRIVE. You will end up with uninsured, unlicenced drivers. Redesigning the system on the basis of one incident is not a good system. Proper risk assessment is what is needed. Not knee-jerk reactions, which is all I'm seeing here.
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From:johnckirk
Date:January 10th, 2014 12:56 pm (UTC)
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I completely agree that having unlicenced/uninsured drivers on the road is a bad thing.

I know that the police (at least in London) are making an effort to crack down on that, e.g. with Operation Cubo: every so often they do spot checks, and impound the vehicle if the driver isn't licenced/insured. This included a few flashy cars, e.g. a Ferrari in 2012 and a Lamborghini in 2013. However, according to The Guardian, the fine is typically only £300, and one of the comments said that you get the car back after you've paid the fine and a storage fee. So, I think that keeping the car permanently might be more of a deterrent, although that depends on the value of the car.

I'd be happy for the police to do more enforcement and/or for the courts to hand out harsher penalties; maybe speed cameras could be upgraded so that they can read the licence plate (ANPR), cross-reference it against the database, and flag it up to any police cars in the area, or something along those lines.

I also agree with you that we shouldn't change the system solely based on this single incident. However, that was just the catalyst for this post. I think that there are other drivers out there who no longer meet the vision requirements, and that may contribute to "SMIDSY" (Sorry Mate I Didn't See You There). The problem is that it's difficult to know how many people are in that category unless you do extra testing. As a first step, I'd be happy for the police to do some random spot checks on this, to see how prevalent it is.

I don't agree that we should avoid raising the standard because people are just going to drive anyway. By that logic, we shouldn't hand out any driving bans or put points on people's licences for dangerous activity (e.g. drink driving or holding a phone). After all, those people are still physically capable of getting into a car and driving around.

I mentioned GCSEs (and computer exams) because I certainly get rusty if I don't use a skill for a certain period of time. Similarly, certain skills get out of date. I'm not suggesting these tests as an arbitrary way of filtering out poor people, I'm suggesting them because I think that people need to pass them in order to be safe and competent drivers.
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