It’s hard to argue against proposals that promote safety, but there has been a noticeable backlash against the cost and restrictions of the legislation.
Arguments against the plans range from the fact the proposals are so punishing they will surely just encourage more illegal driving, through to the fact that employment in rural communities depends on being able to drive.
Is there a middle ground? Clearly there’s much debate still to be had, but if you can forgive the party political broadcast, I’d urge law makers and opinion-formers to keep an eye on Autocar Start. Regular readers will remember this was launched earlier this year, and provides a car, training and insurance for a fixed monthly fee.
To qualify, the driver must complete a set number of hours of tuition with an expert, the same amount with a trained friend, including night time driving, and then undergo a period of training after they have passed their test. In many ways, then, it does exactly what’s being proposed, but without imposing so many restrictions.
The philosophy is very much one of demanding that the learner driver take their responsibilities seriously, and putting the framework around them to do that, and in return offering a competitive price and certain freedoms, such as avoiding restrictions on night driving or carrying passengers.
It’s still not cheap, of course, but then nor can you expect it to be: a new car, comprehensive insurance, training from highly-qualified instructors and post-test instruction never can be. What it is, however, is a rigorous, thought-through way of getting young drivers on the road.
For now, Autocar Start is a trial. Follow the link to find out more, and let us know your thoughts on whether you think it will work, and how it could be improved by posting in the comments section below.