Last month saw the UK’s first youth police and crime commissioner Paris Brown hauled up for her Tweeting history.
Nobody denies the fact there were some shocking Twitter messages in her timeline but Kent Police didn’t do their homework, vetting procedures failed, and the poor teenager was hung out to dry by her seniors who really should have been fighting her corner.
Younger people deserve to be treated better. No wonder their opinions of their elders are sometimes so damning – to be honest, who can blame them when we continue to set such bad examples. Another example was the recent Whitehall summit where the Department for Transport (DfT) hinted at some of the possible options to be included in its forthcoming Green Paper improving road safety and cutting costs for young drivers insurance.
Some of the more radical options being considered include night-time driving curfews and also bans on carrying young passengers for provisional licence holders. Both options are unrealistic and virtually unenforceable, in my opinion.
Coupled with this, were recent comments in the House of Lords by Earl Attlee, a Government Whip who should really know better. He made reference to these options, describing young drivers as being prone to ‘immaturity and reckless driving’.
Both of these examples reflect out-of-touch opinion. Forget about the politics, it’s irrelevant here, it’s about the people leading this debate, the advice they are taking, the people they are listening to and who is influencing their thinking.
I don’t see a single young driver mentioned at the summit or quoted by the DfT; I’m not certain Earl Attlee would have asked the opinion of teenagers at his local constituency youth club either.
Instead of ignoring young people and young drivers, Government should be embracing their views, understanding their attitudes and behaviour to driving on our roads – this way they can make informed and realistic judgements on the right policies and proposals to implement as part of the Green Paper discussion, including taking actions to make both young and learner driver insurance more accessible and affordable.