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New Labour's scenic route to Penury...
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Australian "Little Pinky" anti-speeding campaign.

The 10,000 Driver's Licence.
Flog the Log... and save the Planet.
The 'Little Pinky' Campaign.
Your Safety... Your Responsibility.
The Cure v The Disease.
The Bottom Line.
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The 10,000 Driver's Licence.
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The Government are busily devising a new scenic route to Penury... the 10,000 driver's Licence.  They are planning a major overhaul in the training process for new drivers... following an Official Report which claimed that raising the driving age from 17 to 18 could save up to 100 lives each year: [1,000 KSI, Killed and Seriously Injured.]  The present driving-test takes an average of 100hrs practice to pass... the new programme will be a lot tougher and is expected to push that figure up to about 500hrs.  Learners will still be granted a provisional licence at 17... but very few will be expected to complete the training in less than a year.  [See blinkx Videos on the issue of young drivers.]
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For those who come from a wealthy background, this might not cause much of a problem... but for anyone from the lower socio-economic groups it probably will.  Minimum requirements... a supervising adult with 500hrs of spare time... 10,000 miles wear and tear on someone's vehicle... and a couple of grand for fuel.  If you don't have these... and your only option is to go through a driving school: [500hrs @ 20+ per hour] you'll be looking at the thick end of 10,000.  These changes will undoubtedly have a huge impact on a large number of new drivers.  [Full details: see DfT website]
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Flog the Log... and save the Planet.
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A radical new system such as this will cause individuals to act and react in a variety of ways depending on their attitudes and circumstances.  The majority will still work their way through the system and become legal drivers.  Some will resign themselves to life as a non-driver... and others will join the growing ranks of illegal drivers.  For many people, mobility is not a luxury, it is a vital necessity.  If the legal option becomes impossible... and the illegal option remains so inviting... it is inevitable that many more drivers will end up going down a route they really don't want to take.
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Those wishing to become legal drivers will still face some difficult choices.  Do they do everything by the book... recording every detail in their new official Logbook... putting in the full 500hrs... even if that means dragging out the whole process until they're 35.  Or, do they just do whatever is necessary to pass the driving test and create a Flogbook... a Logbook padded out with a load of Fictitious entries.  With such an open invitation to Flog the Log... no doubt many will be tempted by the prospect of saving themselves... a lot of time, a lot of money, and good old planet Earth from a lot of unnecessary pollution.
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The 'Little Pinky' Campaign.
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For more than a decade the Government have ignored the problems on Britain's roads.  These problems include, illegal vehicles, [may be... unregistered, unroadworthy, uninsured, untaxed, cloned or stolen,] 2million illegal drivers, [including... disqualified, unlicensed, joy-riders, hit-and-run, and TWOC,] and some legal drivers who are also serious and persistent offenders, [like... boy-racers, drink/drug drivers, etc.]  If the Government really want to get tough they should start by targeting the worst offenders using existing Laws... rather than inflicting new draconian Laws on those who have done nothing wrong.
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A good example of targeting a specific problem... using innovative advertising to change attitudes and behaviour... the Australian 'Little Pinky' campaign aimed at the ubiquitous 'Boy-Racers'... deflating a few egos... rather than everyone's bank account.  [See blinkx Video of advert.]

Australian, anti-speeding, "little pinky" campaign.

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Your Safety... Your Responsibility.
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A new system such as this has two basic objectives... to protect everyone from new drivers... and to protect new driver from themselves.  Save 100 lives per annum... and statistically, the Government could reduce each individual's chance of becoming a random fatality by a whopping 0.0000017%: [100 divided by 60million pop.]  As a new driver... the Government might be able to reduce your risks by as much as 0.1%... while you have the ability to reduce your own risks by as much as 1000%... depending on... what you drive, the way you drive, and who you allow to drive you.  Statistically, the person who is most likely to turn you into a KSI Stat, is you... and those who are closest to you.  [See website "Silence Kills"]
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Better training can produce safer drivers... for about 6-12 months.  Drivers then go on to develop their own style of driving... and the dominant influences become, their Peers and the general Road Culture. Inexperience, combined with such things as... over-confidence, poor hazard perception, reactionary driving, low margins of error, drink, drugs and a general pre-disposition for taking risks... will see many young drivers go on to develop a pattern of high-risk behaviour.   Success depends on a System's ability to identify these individuals... and to curb their high-risk behaviour... before they cause an accident.
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The Cure v The Disease.
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One statistic often used is the number of fatalities per billion miles travelled.  As a rough guide for the UK... 30million vehicles doing an average of 10-12,000 miles each... equals 300-360billion miles... divided by the 2006 figure of 3,172 fatalities, means... there are approx 10 fatalities for every 1billion miles we travel as a Nation.
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So, if the Government are going to make 1million new drivers spend an extra 400hrs out on the roads practicing, on... city streets, country roads and motorways: [that's 400million extra hours, at say, 25 miles per hour,] they will clock-up an extra 10billion miles... and according to the Law of Large Numbers... 10billion miles will produce about 100 fatalities or about 1000 KSI.  Billions spent and nothing to show for it... a classic case of the Cure being worse than the Disease.
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The Bottom Line.
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As a new driver... no one can do more for you... than you can do for yourself.  The Government's new system is going to cost you... a lot of time, a lot of money, it will create more illegal drivers, more congestion and more pollution... and in return they are going to give you... Nothing!  It will be bad for you... bad for the Country... and bad for the Planet.  There are alternatives... so, if you think the Government should reassess its priorities... let your MP know about it... while you still have a chance.
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[See Article... Raising the Driving Age to 18... a good idea?]
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