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Old 03-12-2010, 12:27 AM   #1
Tim-H
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Default Good news guys! More safety regulations on the way!

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By JOSH MITCHELL

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration is considering new rules for the design of automobiles, including possible requirements that cars be equipped with advanced-brake technology and "black boxes" that record crash data, the top U.S. highway-safety regulator said Thursday.

David Strickland, chief of the Transportation Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, made his remarks Thursday at a U.S. House hearing where he defended his agency's response to safety problems involving Toyota Motor Corp.

"We have been a very active agency" in responding to the Toyota recalls, Mr. Strickland told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, calling criticism of the agency "not valid at all."

He noted that the agency has opened multiple investigations into Toyota. "A lapdog doesn't open any investigations," he said, apparently referring to a criticism leveled by former NHTSA administrator Joan Claybrook, who also testified.

Mr. Strickland, a former congressional staffer who took the helm of NHTSA in January, said auto-safety regulators are performing a broad review of vehicle designs, including engine electronic systems, to determine whether design standards need to be updated. Under consideration are new rules to upgrade accelerator-pedal design and brakes.

In written testimony he submitted to the committee, Mr. Strickland said the administration is prepared to require that all cars be equipped with brake-override systems, which are designed to ensure that a car stops if both the gas and brake pedals are depressed.

"If our review indicates that requiring this feature could substantially reduce the most dangerous kinds of sudden acceleration, we will strongly consider a rulemaking to require it," he said.

Mr. Strickland also said the administration is studying whether to require that all vehicles be equipped with event-data recorders, also known as black boxes. Many U.S. vehicles already have the black boxes, while some also are equipped with brake-override systems.

The hearing was called to examine NHTSA's role in tracking defects, and was the fourth congressional hearing in recent weeks related to Toyota's recall of some eight million vehicles world-wide for sudden-acceleration problems.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the industry's largest trade group in Washington, has pledged to work with lawmakers on "common sense" approaches to improve safety, but hasn't taken a position on a mandate for brake-override systems, a spokesman said.

About 95% of car accidents are caused by driver error, while only about 2% are caused by vehicle problems, according to a 2005 NHTSA study. The report was cited at the hearing by Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Mr. McCurdy also told lawmakers that NHTSA needs additional funding to collect more crash data, but added that the current U.S. regulatory system has resulted in a steady decrease in highway fatalities.

Ms. Claybrook, the former administrator of NHTSA who also is president emeritus of the consumer group Public Citizen, called in her remarks for tougher penalties on manufacturers that fail to recall defective vehicles, more rigorous safety standards and greater disclosure of the data auto makers submit in defect investigations. She also told the panel that NHTSA's funding should be doubled.

Separately, Daihatsu Motor Co., a Toyota subsidiary, said Thursday it will recall around 275,000 vehicles in Japan, the Associated Press reported. Toyota owns about 51 percent of the minicar maker.

A Daihatsu spokesman said the recall was due to faulty brake lamps and the risk of bolts loosening in the suspension system. He said there also was a risk of loose hoses in the fuel tank.

The company hasn't received any reports of accidents due to the defects, he said.
The Wall Street Journal

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Old 03-12-2010, 12:30 AM   #2
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The only thing I have to say about this is the same thing I and many other people have complained about.

EDUCATE THE FIVING MORONS BEHIND THE WHEEL! I'm so angry about this, just print up some more money and spend it on something that wouldn't be a problem if people knew how to drive a ****ing car.
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:21 AM   #3
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95% of accidents are caused by driver error.. so by all means lets attack the 2% due to vehicle issues and create even more brainless unthinking morons behind the wheel, increase the price, complexity, and weight of cars, burden an already struggling automotive industry. Yeah, lets hear it for lawyers and english majors telling carmakers how to do their job.

Just take everybody in the white house out on the front lawn and water balloon them to death.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:45 AM   #4
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Default Agency Weighs the Need for a ‘Black Box’ in Cars

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Agency Weighs the Need for a ‘Black Box’ in Cars


David Strickland, administrator of the agency, said it was considering the step in the wake of recalls of millions of Toyota vehicles. He made the disclosure to a subcommittee hearing by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.


The recorders, sometimes referred to as “black boxes,” like those on airplanes, record events from five to 30 seconds before a crash, and soon afterward.

The devices, which are generally linked to air bags, note information like the speed of the car, whether the driver was applying the brakes and other facts that can be downloaded and analyzed.

In 2006, the safety administration encouraged but did not require automobile manufacturers to install the systems and also did not set a single standard for the way data would be recorded.

That has been an issue in the case of Toyota, whose event recorders are different from those installed on cars from Detroit automakers. Unlike their systems, which can be read through the same diagnostic equipment, the Toyota system requires a special analytic device, and Mr. Strickland said a Toyota representative must help interpret the information.

Safety advocates have called for the same system to be required on all automobiles and say the information should be available to the public.

Mr. Strickland, in his testimony, said the agency would “evaluate the benefits of mandatory event data recorders in vehicles.”

Since last fall, Toyota has recalled six million vehicles in the United States in two major campaigns for potential problems that could cause sudden unintended acceleration, an issue that has affected several automakers.

Toyota recalled one series of vehicles because it said the accelerator pedals could become entangled in floor mats. In a second recall, Toyota said pedals could become stuck because of a faulty pedal design. It is in the midst of making repairs in each recall.

The company also said it would install brake override systems on many vehicles, meant to prevent the car’s electronic throttle from sticking open.

At the hearing, Representative John D. Dingell Jr., Democrat of Michigan, said the agency’s response to safety defects on automobiles had been “sluggish.” He said he was concerned that the agency lacked appropriate resources, in terms of financing and staff, to fulfill its safety mandate. But Mr. Dingell also said that Toyota shared responsibility for failing to act more quickly when reports of problems surfaced.

Mr. Strickland, a former Senate staff member who took office on Jan. 4, said he did not think the agency under his leadership had made mistakes in dealing with Toyota, and he said the company had been “very responsive” to the safety agency’s requests for information.

In earlier hearings, some members of Congress accused the agency of being a “lapdog” for the automobile industry. But Mr. Strickland objected to that characterization, saying the agency had opened eight investigations into the issue of sudden unintended acceleration.

“A lapdog doesn’t open eight separate investigations,” he said.

But he said Toyota was unique among automobile companies in leaving decisions on recalls to its headquarters in Japan. He said the company could move more quickly on requests from the agency if a Toyota executive in the United States had the authority to act.

In December, the Transportation Department sent officials to Japan at the safety administration’s request to urge Toyota to speed up its actions on the sticking pedal situation. Soon after, Toyota recalled a series of vehicles to repair accelerator pedals and also temporarily stopped selling and producing models involved in the recall.

Mr. Strickland said his agency would look at many of the features that have come into question because of the recalls. They include electronic throttle technology, brake override systems and accelerator pedals.

In the last week, the police have reported at least two incidents in which the owners of Prius cars complained of sudden unintended acceleration.

Toyota has recalled 2004 to 2009 models of the Prius because of the floor mat issue, but the cars were not part of the sticking pedal recall because they have a different accelerator pedal. The owners of the cars, however, said their floor mats were not entangled in the pedals. In one case, the floor mats had been securely fastened by a dealer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/bu...er=rss&emc=rss
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by SCRAPPYDO View Post
95% of accidents are caused by driver error.. so by all means lets attack the 2% due to vehicle issues and create even more brainless unthinking morons behind the wheel, increase the price, complexity, and weight of cars, burden an already struggling automotive industry. Yeah, lets hear it for lawyers and english majors telling carmakers how to do their job.

Just take everybody in the white house out on the front lawn and water balloon them to death.
How much driver error can one realistically aim to eliminate? Humans are (very) fallible creatures, and everyone thinks that they're a good driver no matter what the facts might show. I think the proper tactic is prevention through more rigorous vehicle examinations--see recent article on LI-area inspection shops being fined for fraudulently allowing vehicles to pass--, increased rigor of driver training AND mitigation through safer cars.

Saying that "2% of accidents are due to vehicle issues" ignores the tremendous role a vehicle's safety features do play in every single kind of accident once it is underway.

Finally, leaving such things up to the automakers is poor policy. Automakers are beholden to their shareholders and bottom line, not to the public interest. It behooves them to make cars as unsafe and cheaply as possible while jazzing them up just enough so that Joe Sixpack buys one after seeing their NASCAR advertisement.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:50 AM   #6
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I actually like the idea of putting black boxes into cars if the data can be properly interpreted. Maybe insurance companies will start to see how the people behind the wheel are cause for most of the wrecks. And it might be able to be tapped as a data acquisition device for auto enthusiasts.

Of course, I don't want the weight, added complexity or cost. So yeah, maybe not.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
How much driver error can one realistically aim to eliminate? Humans are (very) fallible creatures, and everyone thinks that they're a good driver no matter what the facts might show. I think the proper tactic is prevention through more rigorous vehicle examinations--see recent article on LI-area inspection shops being fined for fraudulently allowing vehicles to pass--, increased rigor of driver training AND mitigation through safer cars.

Saying that "2% of accidents are due to vehicle issues" ignores the tremendous role a vehicle's safety features do play in every single kind of accident once it is underway.
Mandatory driver's tests for people over a certain age and a more rigorous test/class overall.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
How much driver error can one realistically aim to eliminate? Humans are (very) fallible creatures, and everyone thinks that they're a good driver no matter what the facts might show. I think the proper tactic is prevention through more rigorous vehicle examinations--see recent article on LI-area inspection shops being fined for fraudulently allowing vehicles to pass--, increased rigor of driver training AND mitigation through safer cars.

Saying that "2% of accidents are due to vehicle issues" ignores the tremendous role a vehicle's safety features do play in every single kind of accident once it is underway.

Finally, leaving such things up to the automakers is poor policy. Automakers are beholden to their shareholders and bottom line, not to the public interest. It behooves them to make cars as unsafe and cheaply as possible while jazzing them up just enough so that Joe Sixpack buys one after seeing their NASCAR advertisement.
I agree with most of what you wrote. However, I do not think automakers strive to make the most unsafe car they can. I think safety actually sells cars. Subaru does not HAVE to make every car a best choice in safety, they can do far less and get by the US regulations for safety, but they choose to do more. Other than that last paragraph I really have no beef with what you wrote. Better testing, yes, better safety inspections, yes. More rigorous drivers tests... YOU BET.

I agree you cannot end human mistakes, but you can require a higher level of car control and reduce the distractions while driving.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:34 AM   #9
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How about we just all get one set of standards like the European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) or something along those lines. I know it would put a bunch of lawyers and lobbyist out of work, but I really can't afford this anymore.

Peace,

Greg
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:30 AM   #10
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They'll regulate everyone into a padded cell if they can.

This is utter idiocy.

The good ideas are never listened to. common sense is ignored.

But nanny-state policy is considered and implemented when it has historically been shown to FAIL EVERY TIME IT HAS BEEN TRIED.

The United States of America was founded to be a different paradigm than the feudalism-generated serfdom and inherited power structure of Europe. Why does the government feel the need to return to that? because they want that kind of power for themselves, and will haul the american people down to serf status to get it.

Requiring drivers to know how to drive, perhaps with graduated lincensing... no go.
Common sense and common application of automotive certification with other countries, since cars are built for international sale.... no go.

But let's do black boxes to invade people's privacy rights.

Let's do OwnStar to pre-build cars with surveillance and over-ride equipment installed from the factory, and then have the courts, like a Wisconsin Appeals Court that ruled it was perfectly legal to monitor someone's car by GPS without their knowledge, and without any due process. No warrant, not even a subpoena required.

Lets federalize every little possible change in a vehicle family, so that it costs companies MILLIONS of extra dollars to federalize changes within a model line... and when it gets too expensive, the US companies build less diverse products... and the foreign companies build what they want, and sell it everywhere else.

Lets screw around with fuel economy, and create double standards to push product design this way or that way, instead of letting companies build according to demand, and then incentivize companies with tax breaks the more they do so in an efficient manner... so that it costs LESS, not more.

This stuff is so far out of whack, it doesn't even resemble the home of the free anymore.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:39 AM   #11
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Knee Jerk reaction.
or
Opportunity to impose their ideals on others.
or
Opportunity to control the rabble some more.
or
Some bureaucrat trying desperately to justify their cushy job and wasting tax money in the process.

But.... "think of the children....."
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:04 AM   #12
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How much driver error can one realistically aim to eliminate?
Quote:
Mandatory driver's tests for people over a certain age and a more rigorous test/class overall.
12345 Driver testing in the US is a joke. We need a system more like Germany's, where driving is taken very seriously and it is much more expensive and difficult to get a license. Even in Canada, where I grew up, the test was pretty strict and it was common to fail on your first attempt. (I passed on my first try driving a '77 Volare with 4MT )
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:52 AM   #13
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...but Germany is a socialist democracy. Your "Libertarian" bent is at odds with your preferences yet again.

I'd love to have a German-type system, with well-inspected vehicles, well-mannered/well-trained drivers, and excellent road construction. There's not a chance in hell we're going to see that here with the state of our vehicle fleet, the high proportion of unlicensed drivers (let alone those who are proficient), and comparatively shoddy road construction even on interstates, not to mention the thousands of miles of unimproved rural routes or pothole-ridden municipal roads with "deferred maintenance."
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:54 AM   #14
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I think a "black box" would be a good idea in terms of better understanding what happened in an accident. Often times, we rely on driver's statements and witnesses but that can be skewed due to lack of witnesses, personal shock, and misinterpretation as an accident occurs in a split second. It can eliminate the "he said, she said" situation. The "black box" can provide additional data on speed, braking, and impact forces.

I agree that people need to be more educated on proper driving.

I know many would disagree with me on this but I think the driver's license should be raised to 18 not because I don't want kids to drive but I think there is a better level of maturaty. The current driver's education system is mediocre at best and don't put driver's through real life and emergency situations. The German system provide a much more thorough education process.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:40 PM   #15
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I agree that people need to be more educated on proper driving.

I know many would disagree with me on this but I think the driver's license should be raised to 18 not because I don't want kids to drive but I think there is a better level of maturaty. The current driver's education system is mediocre at best and don't put driver's through real life and emergency situations. The German system provide a much more thorough education process.
If you want to wait till their 18 to get them behind a wheel, when will they learn then? Want more proper driving- stop raising the damn age requirement. Start TEACHING kids at a younger age with a real car and not some books that will bore them to death. I forget which country in europe but one of them starts teaching at 14 and they don't even get a license till 4 years later.
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:00 PM   #16
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How much driver error can one realistically aim to eliminate?
Go to western Europe and drive for a month or so and you will have your answer. You cannot eliminate all driver error, but you can do a HELL of a lot better than the good ol' USA. I'll go a step further than mandatory driver's test for people above a certain age: a REAL driver's test for ALL drivers. We give out driver's licenses in this country to just about anyone who asks.
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:06 PM   #17
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Go to western Europe and drive for a month or so and you will have your answer. You cannot eliminate all driver error, but you can do a HELL of a lot better than the good ol' USA. I'll go a step further than mandatory driver's test for people above a certain age: a REAL driver's test for ALL drivers. We give out driver's licenses in this country to just about anyone who asks.
I'd argue that the difference between Western Europe and the US is not merely a difference in driver's education programs. It's a cultural thing.

In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest that the sense of shared responsibility that underlies social democracies with arguably socialist bents, e.g., much of Northern Europe, is also a driving force (cue rimshot) behind the better quality of drivers. In the US the attitude is "screw my neighbor, I've got mine" and that attitude carries over onto the road.

Don't believe it? Imagine the hue and cry if a new law was proposed that made licensing more rigorous, exclusive, and expensive, something on the order of the average cost of $4200 (Japan: http://www.buzzsawmag.org/2010/03/02...und-the-world/) or the month's average salary it takes in Hungary. We'd have neo-"Tea Party" people up in arms in the street. No way, no how.

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Old 03-12-2010, 02:30 PM   #18
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I agree it's not the unsafe cars, but the unsafe drivers. I also agree with much more difficult testing requirements, and will even go so far to say that re-tests are mandatory every 5 years (to shake up the bad habits). Every 2-3years for seniors.

Mike: even though we have graduated licensing (which I think is a good thing), the Canadian system still sucks. It's so dependent on where you go to take your examination. Some centres are a lot easier with some centres known to be bribe-friendly. A friend of mine didn't even have to do parallel parking for her full G license!

Unfortunately, we've had it way too good for way too long and the amount of change we are talking about will have people up in arms. Part of me would be happy with forcing people to graduate only by driving stick, but the other part of me realizes that it would be really unfair to the majority of folks who would never drive stick ever again. I do think it would solve a good amount of our road problems. But w/ DSG and paddle shifting, even stick is showing the signs of endangerment.
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:37 PM   #19
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How about people learn to take constructive critisisim better. Actually believe you can make a mistake. Don't get mad at the person telling you, and dismissing it. Quit needing someone to blame. It's a mindset we as Americans need to change, or you'll keep seeing these type of things more and more. It a society problem.

Carry on.
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Old 03-12-2010, 03:44 PM   #20
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I'd argue that the difference between Western Europe and the US is not merely a difference in driver's education programs. It's a cultural thing.

In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest that the sense of shared responsibility that underlies social democracies with arguably socialist bents, e.g., much of Northern Europe, is also a driving force (cue rimshot) behind the better quality of drivers. In the US the attitude is "screw my neighbor, I've got mine" and that attitude carries over onto the road.

Don't believe it? Imagine the hue and cry if a new law was proposed that made licensing more rigorous, exclusive, and expensive, something on the order of the average cost of $4200 (Japan: http://www.buzzsawmag.org/2010/03/02...und-the-world/) or the month's average salary it takes in Hungary. We'd have neo-"Tea Party" people up in arms in the street. No way, no how.

+1

In addition to the outcry for more expensive licensing, think of how much outcry there will be on the enforcement side. Speeding is taken pretty seriously in European countries (in Germany, I believe 30 kph over is automatic license suspension, and I don't believe that is arguable in a court).
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:20 PM   #21
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one more reason for me to buy a 71 240z
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:30 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
Don't believe it? Imagine the hue and cry if a new law was proposed that made licensing more rigorous, exclusive, and expensive, something on the order of the average cost of $4200 (Japan: http://www.buzzsawmag.org/2010/03/02...und-the-world/) or the month's average salary it takes in Hungary. We'd have neo-"Tea Party" people up in arms in the street. No way, no how.

well, it is all about what the people care about. right now, for whatever reason, people seem to be okay with the government looking over their shoulder. this is evident with so many things. the patriot act being one of the largest. if people gave half a **** about their rights and freedom they would have voted every single person who voted for the patriot act out of office, including gwb.

take away our perceived rights, or the rights we can understand, like driving a car, and of course, everyone's going to be pissed off. even if it doesn't affect them, but if they don't really follow what they are losing, they give freely, and don't worry about what will be next.

it's a shame we are so giving of our freedoms and rights, but there it is.
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:47 PM   #23
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I think the real problem is having round wheels, they go too fast so I recomment hexagonal ones.
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:48 PM   #24
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If you want to wait till their 18 to get them behind a wheel, when will they learn then? Want more proper driving- stop raising the damn age requirement. Start TEACHING kids at a younger age with a real car and not some books that will bore them to death. I forget which country in europe but one of them starts teaching at 14 and they don't even get a license till 4 years later.
I agree with this. What I meant is waiting til 18 for a full license. Until then, begin teaching them with both books and hands on. Make the "book section" a full time extensive class with routine exams. Then the hands on will behind wheel with real world, panic, emergency, etc. situations in a controlled environment. Make education take place over years.

Not like how it is now, get a license, then really figure out what is going on.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:55 PM   #25
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^^Agree; I'd like to see a 2-yr graduated license, with supervision by an 18+ licensed driver.

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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
Your "Libertarian" bent is at odds with your preferences yet again.
I explained that in another similar thread. If roads were privately owned, it would be up to the owners to decide the rules about who can use them. But since they are run by government, which supposedly represents me, I am entitled to my preference for stricter controls.
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