The respectful driver — fact or fiction?

“These components are: safe road users who are well-trained, knowledgeable of driving challenges and risks"

I’ve been reading Moving to Vision Zero: Road Safety Strategy Update and Showcase of Innovation in British Columbia and was struck by these words: “These components are: safe road users who are well-trained, knowledgeable of driving challenges and risks, and who are respectful of traffic rules…”

Are today’s drivers well trained? My mother tells me that when she was old enough to obtain a driver’s licence she went in, paid $2 and was told to go learn to drive.

I had to take a 20-question multiple choice exam, practice driving a bit and then pass a 15 to 20 minute road test.

My children took a 50-question exam, passed through two levels of graduated licensing which included one-hour exams and took formal driver training because we could afford it and I thought it was an important life skill.

That’s quite a change over three generations! But it can serve to show the large variation in drivers who use our roads today.

To put it all in perspective, a driving examiner confided in me that even after passing through the Graduated Licensing Program, drivers still only possessed the basic skills necessary to drive well and that further training would be needed to become a really accomplished safe driver. What does that say about my mother and I?

Aside from enforcement action, Moving to Vision Zero establishes the following priorities: the development of a sector-wide provincial road safety calendar of education and awareness initiatives; the development of a best practices toolkit for education and awareness events; the creation of a provincial road safety logo; and the building of a network for distributing education and awareness campaigns.

Hmm, advertising and tickets, no mention of testing, training or incentive to improve skills. I’ll have to re-read the document, maybe I missed it…