Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

LEGISLATORS are a little like washing-machine salesmen: they would always rather be selling us a new model than be bothering about the one they sold us last year. Time and again gleaming new laws are wheeled out on display when a better solution might lie in enforcing those laws already on the statute book.

The latest piece of legislation in the government's showroom is a proposed ban on 17-year-old drivers. In future, motorists would have to be 18 and to have held a provisional licence for a year before venturing on to the roads by themselves. The justification seems straightforward enough: male drivers aged between 17 and 19, statistics reveal, are ten times more likely to have a fatal accident than are those aged between 35 and 54.

But why should a blanket ban on 17year-olds - many of whom live and work in areas where there is little public transport - have any effect when murderous drivers of all ages are able to escape punishment, thanks to lax enforcement of existing laws? …

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