Be afraid, be very afraid?

You can learn a lot from written answers in the Lords where Ulster Unionist Lord Laird is a regular interrogator of government ministers. He has uncovered how many less than sprightly drivers there are in Northern Ireland. Now, I’m not too far from being able to get cheaper insurance from Saga myself and don’t therefore believe in ageism but the answer may make you a little queasy when you next take the wheel. There are: 20,603 licenced drivers aged 76 to 80; 15,893 aged 81 to 85; 3,139 aged 86 to 90; 504 aged 91 to 95; 38 aged 96 to 100; and just 2 aged 101 or over. I just hope that John next asks where these last two live because I just would love the Minister, Jeff Rooker, to be able to say that “we know where you live.”

Slugger’s new Westminster Correspondent

  • Crataegus

    It’s some of the younger ones that really worry me.

    Boy racer, the ladettes, business mum fitting in school run, BMW B*****D with a right to cut up anyone because no one is more important than him. Give me the pensioners any day.

    On a separate but related issue when you plan your cities around cars how do those without cars survive? No local shops, no local Post Offices or banks, Hospital back end of no where etc etc. Do you expect the elderly to stay at home and quietly die?

  • páid

    “don’t therefore believe in ageism but the answer may make you a little queasy when you next take the wheel. There are: 20,603 licenced drivers aged 76 to 80”

    Ahem!!!!!!!! is there a bit of the “i’m no racist but you have to watch these darkies” about that line?????

    I would be interested to know how DANGEROUS these older drivers are. I see a lot down here in the South pootling about. Annoying but…………

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    I thought the transition point between 81-85 and 86-90 was interesting. That seems to be the key point when most give up driving. Tough for a lot of older people with rural families, and very poor bus services.

  • GurnyGub

    Maybe that’s when we can’t release the handbrake any more?

  • Pete Baker

    “I thought the transition point between 81-85 and 86-90 was interesting. That seems to be the key point when most give up driving”…

    or…

  • TAFKABO

    or…

    Heh, exactly what I was thinking.
    Not so much Driving miss Daisy as driving up the daisies….

  • Harry Flashman

    Can anyone tell me the point to this question? Is there a big problem in NI with old people massacring hundreds of young drivers on the road? I can’t say that I’ve heard much about it recently.

    Little old ladies pootering along in their Mini Metros don’t scare me half as much as eighteen year old boys in baseball caps driving souped up Vauxhall Corsas, so why was this question asked. Did he ask about the number of gays driving? Or Pakistanis? I mean it’s essential that we find out this information in the interests of the community.

  • smcgiff

    Similarily to crataegus, I’d be more worried about the % and distribution of 4X4 drivers.

    I’ve never been crashed into by an elderly driver. Sadly, I can’t say the same about 19 year olds, with one week old driving licences, driving daddy’s company 4X4.

  • Though I don’t know how one actually gets, and keeps a driver’s license in Northern Ireland,I do know that statistics about this sort of thing in other countries are most suspect.

    Most important, many old people have licenses but also never or almost never drive. Moreover, licenses can be renewed by the holder just taking an eye examination.

    And as an old person, I am a better driver now than I have ever been because I am more concerned about highway safety, especially drunk drivers, have no interest in fast, sporty cars, and, consequently, drive more slowly and carefully than when I was younger, especially because I no longer have a demanding job or pressing appointments.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Old drivers usually drive so slowly that they are no danger to anyone and they are very easy to overtake if you need to, so I’m not bothered by them myself.

    We need to rethink our ideas on road safety. We need a zero tolerance approach to driving. Somebody who doesn’t use their indicators should be taken off the road before they get a chance to kill anyone. Put cameras all over the place and fine or ban people who can’t drive. That includes driving too close to the car in front, failing to use indicators et cetera.

    Remove the idiots who can’t drive and the death rate on the roads will tumble. Speed only kills when the speeder is incompetent. If I slow down and sit back in busy traffic and obey all urban limits, then why shouldn’t I be allowed to do 90mph on a clear straight motorway on a day when there isn’t another car on the road?

    Then there’s the ignorant morons who sit in the overtaking/fast lane of a motorway all the time driving slowly when the other lane is clear.

    I could go on for hours … 🙂

    All forms of incompetence and danger should be stamped down on.

  • idunnomeself

    what do you mean he ‘uncovered’ this information

    was it covered? does anyone care? is it of any relevance to any decision making process going on?

    Why doesn’t he just have done with it and ask the Minister to remind him of his wedding aniversary or what’s on TV that night?

    waste of time and my money

    IDM

  • Crataegus

    Smcgiff

    You too! I was laid up for 5 months by a 19 year old girl in a hurry to get home so she could go out one Saturday evening. Driving a nice little sports car, that daddy insured, at close on 70mph on one of our main arterial Roads (30mph) Thank God it wasn’t a 4×4. You would think if your son or daughter was unable to get insurance you would sympathise but be secretly well pleased and say oh well just have to make do here’s a Reliant Robin. In my opinion the father was irresponsible and grossly negligent and should suffer more than just higher insurance premiums.

    O. C.

    “All forms of incompetence and danger should be stamped down on”.

    Anyone that has been in a bad accident would agree with you. It happens so quick and there is seldom anything you can do. I would also like to see a change of attitude and instead of seeing it as a right to drive we should increasingly see it as a privilege.

    I would like to see intelligence tests introduced as part of the assessment as some of the antics confound belief. Last week was in a delay on a section of dual carriage way and for entertainment was watching someone driving across the central reservation to turn back but was dicing with the on coming traffic which were travelling at speed. Unbelievable just what could be that urgent?

  • Animus

    I would love to see what the insurance costs are for these older drivers. People carp (men often) about how unsafe women drivers are, but look at insurance premiums and you can see who pays more.

    I would love for taxi drivers to get re-tested every few years. I have been in so many taxis where the driver is either talking on the phone, veering from lane to lane without signalling, cutting other drivers off or a combination of all of the above.

    I always wonder why people are such w*nkers in the morning – does everyone love their job so much they would mow the rest of us down to get in first?

  • fair_deal

    “BMW B*****D”

    “I’d be more worried about the % and distribution of 4X4 drivers”

    Brothers, brothers let us not fall out amongst ourselves over what cars we drive. We should unite against the common enemt, TAXI DRIVERS.

  • Animus

    I don’t drive a car. So I guess I’m left out of all your warm fuzzy solidarity Fair Deal!

    I think 4x4s shouldn’t be driven in town anyway, they are ridiculous, wasteful and dangerous to other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. I would love to see a huge SUV tax.

  • Stephen Copeland

    I’d be more worried about the % and distribution of 4X4 drivers

    As one of the offenders, I feel I should point out that 4×4 drivers are no worse drivers than anyone else. Its just that our cars are bigger and you’re jealous.

    Seriously though, is there any real research on the type of vehicles involved in crashes? My experience is that the boy racers (never in 4x4s) are responsible for way more than anyone else. On the other hand, research has shown that, conversely, young men are both the worst, and the best drivers! Taxi drivers, given their experience on the roads, may fall into the same category.

  • fair_deal

    Animus

    “So I guess I’m left out of all your warm fuzzy solidarity Fair Deal!”

    Not necessarily, I don’t know about your persoanl experiences but I have tended to find taxi drivers are as inconsiderate to pedestrians as they are to drivers

    PS On the wasteful there are 4×4 cars that are more fuel efficient that the new mini

  • George

    Stephen,
    the rest of us aren’t jealous of SUV drivers, we just don’t like the idea that we are most likely to end up in a wooden box if hit by one.

    SUVs are the most dangerous cars on the road for everyonw.

  • smcgiff

    ‘is there any real research on the type of vehicles involved in crashes?’

    I can only go by anecdotal evidence, and my own one crash. 100% 4X4 fault. He hit me sideways on into my engine. If my car was a foot farther along he would have hit my door, and …

    In general though 4X4’s are larger cars (frankly I consider them raised estates – and don’t fancy them), and I’ve come across them in some back roads where the driver thought I’d far too much road to myself.

    Look (sorry Stephen) if you don’t live up a mountain or on a farm you don’t need a 4X4. If you’re vertically challenged and want a raised view buy a Hi-Ace.

    Crataegus, I feel your pain (fancy being laid up for 5 months because of a girl!) :¬)

    ‘does everyone love their job so much they would mow the rest of us down to get in first?’

    Aint that the truth!

  • Animus

    A Mini isn’t a fuel efficient car FD! It’s not the size that matters, don’t you know? Yes, *some* of SUV/4x4s may be more efficient, but by and large, they are much more wasteful than, say a VW Polo.

    I am secure in myself enough not to need a 4×4 😉 I’ve very happy with my enviro-friendly bike.

    I’ve just found some stats on the net which could imply that SUV drivers are less safe than car drivers – 64% involved in fatal injuries were not wearing seat belts, as opposed to 50% of car drivers.

    Some other stats:
    65 percent of fatally injured unrestrained SUV occupants were ejected totally or partially, the highest among all types of passenger vehicles. The lowest such proportion was 35 percent for passenger cars.

    I realise this is a quick cut and paste job, but it does raise some interesting points.

  • smcgiff

    ‘SUVs are the most dangerous cars on the road for everyone.’

    Including the SUV driver, ironically.

  • Stephen Copeland

    George,

    SUVs are the most dangerous cars on the road for everyonw.

    Not for me – I’ve got driver and passenger airbags, and ABS. Plus, with a higher vehicle I’ve got better visibility. Siffice to say, I’ve had no crashes, and consider myself a safe driver.

    smgiff,

    Look (sorry Stephen) if you don’t live up a mountain or on a farm you don’t need a 4X4.

    True. But I do.

  • Animus

    Stephen

    Just because you’ve had no crashes doesn’t make you a safe driver. When I’m driving and see a SUV I try to give lots of room as they generally act like the own the road, in the full knowledge that they are more likely to kill you than the other way around. Very few people consider themselves unsafe drivers do they? Not even people who have had a couple of drinks.

  • smcgiff

    ‘True. But I do.’

    Live on a farm up a mountain?

    Then you must hate the stereotypical 4X4 driver that sashays (say that word fast five times!) around town.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Animus,

    There are at least two types of 4×4 drivers; the urban wannabees, and those people who do actually live in the country. It is a bit unfair to tar all 4×4 drivers with the urban brush, when many do actually need the pulling power of a 4×4. Even urban wannabbes might have to pull a horse-box or boat trailer every so often.

    As for running you off the road, well all I can say is that they are often bigger cars, and they may also be as far over into the ditch as they can go.

    Heck, vans are big too. Why don’t you attack them? Or lorries? Tractors?

  • Stephen Copeland

    smgiff,

    No rural person lives only in the country. Even if your life is rural you still need to go into town often. Maybe people are part-time farmers. You cannot have one car for half your life and a second car for going into town.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Maybe people are part-time farmers.’

    Most farmers would be, but, not to put too fine a point on it, you can tell the difference. The SUV I’m talking about is a sparkling silver metallic job that’s pristine without a hint of mud on the alloys. Plus you know a farmer’s SUV, it’s usually a sturdy machine and s/he wouldn’t be seen dead in the faux 4×4’s that are on sale to a specific and particular market. Roight?

  • DK

    There are only two kinds of drivers on the road: Idiots driving slower than me and maniacs driving faster.

  • Stephen Copeland

    smgiff,

    While I do know exactly what you’re talking about (since my 4×4 is a metalic-painted, alloy-wheeled job), I defensively revert to my original point: is there statistical evidence that 4x4s have a worse safety record thaan other vehicles, either for third parties or for their own divers?

    Could you not turn your righteous anger onto a mutual enemy? The ‘people carriers’, usually driven by people with 1.4 kids, despite the eight bloody seats!

  • smcgiff

    ‘is there statistical evidence that 4x4s have a worse safety record thaan other vehicles, either for third parties or for their own divers?’

    As has been pointed out I think there has (Far too lazy to search). I also seem to remember that bull bars (BULL bars!!! I rest my case) are particularly lethal.

  • Stephen Copeland

    smgiff,

    Bull bars are certainly dangerous. But they don’t come pre-installed on 4x4s, you know. Mine has none. The bonnet mascots that many saloon cars used to have were even more lethal – they’d cut you open even at low speeds.

    Most ‘real’ 4x4s (i.e. the old bangers driven by farmers) never get up much of a speed. It seems the farmers are used to pulling a trailor at 50 kmh and don’t feel comfortable over that speed. Its the ‘status’ cars that are dangerous, be they 4x4s, BMWs, Mercs, or whatever.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Most ‘real’ 4x4s (i.e. the old bangers driven by farmers) never get up much of a speed.’

    I agree and I’m sure farmers find 4X4’s very useful, and if urbanites want to drive 4X4s then that’s fine too. Just don’t let them come running to me if they find someone’s taken a six inch nail to their paint work.

    ‘Its the ‘status’ cars that are dangerous,’

    I agree… BMW X3/X5 drivers, Mercedes M/G class drivers, the Lexus RX drivers etc ;¬)

  • Crataegus

    What about the poor pedestrian, tried crossing any of our main roads at rush hour? Do we need more pedestrian crossings and safe routes to schools?

    Oh another stupid accident; was sitting at lights which were all on red as an elderly lady was crossing. Lights change and some nutcase cuts the corner to turn right and droves straight into her. Believe the lady is in care and will probably never recover. Deprived of her last few years of mobility and independence by some jack ass in a hurry.

    It’s not the type of car that’s the problem but the moron at the wheel. We will all make mistakes but some people deliberately make them. They decide to abandon their car on double yellow lines to get money out of a cash point instead of parking properly and safely and walking a few extra yards etc etc etc. Imagine anyone handling fire arms in a similar careless manner? So how do we weed out the criminally insane or the people with no sense of fear?

    That said still think BMW drivers take the biscuit. Who would waste money on one except those who want to show they have arrived. Hi look at me I’m a success I drive a BMW. Deeply insecure and suspect thought patterns; carve you up in a flash. ME ME ME. Perhaps we should have psychological profiling?

  • fair_deal

    Animus

    “I am secure in myself enough not to need a 4×4”

    Eyes roll you’ll be having a tape measurement out next.

    Some of us work and live in the town but are in the countryside on a regular basis (usually every other weekend and this includes driving over muddy fields). Our work can also involves lugging people and equipment about. The 4×4 offers the flexibility for all this that a van or estate car doesn’t.

  • smcgiff

    ‘The 4×4 offers the flexibility for all this that a van or estate car doesn’t.’

    Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Now explain the sock stuffed down the front of your pants! 😉

  • fair_deal

    smgiff

    Sock!?! I have more ambition and imagination than that, it has to be a marrow 😉

  • George

    Stephen,
    you may be higher up but that means higher centre of gravity and greater chance of rolling over.

    It also means many SUV drivers do dangerous things like double overtaking.

    On statistically more dangerous:

    In 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released figures showing that drivers of SUVs were 11 percent more likely to die in an accident than people in cars.

    SUV drivers are a danger to themselves and to others.
    I don’t mind selfishness but when it could risk my life I get peeved.

  • Animus

    I’m not a boy – I don’t have all of these measurement issues Fair Deal, ha ha.

    Stephen, don’t get me started on vans, or lorries, or people carriers with one occupant; I could go on all night. I have no issue with tractors or with vehicles being used for the purposes they are designed for. SUVs in the Ormeau Road? Technically I don’t think that’s considered in the country.

    Okay next topic: who is worse Audi drivers or BMWs? I think it’s probably a close call but I’m willing to listen.

  • Crataegus

    “Okay next topic: who is worse Audi drivers or BMWs?”

    Definitely BMW drivers, no sense of style.

  • George

    BMW drivers because they park anywhere and always leave me for dead at the lights.

    SUV drivers are comparable drink drivers, they refuse to accept that on the whole (or should that be up your hole) they are a problem on the road.

  • missfitz

    Cant believe you have all left out the worst offenders.

    Men in caps.

    It could probably be scientifically porven that men in caps are the worst drivers in the North, bar none. They drive badly, slowly, are inconsiderate and bring out road rage in sensible women drivers

  • BogExile

    There’s nothing I enjoy more of an evening than cleaning out the pensioners from the front grille of my Discovery.

    I have discovered that they are very effective in helping to clear the mountain roads of Fiesta’s, Atoz’s, Yaris’s and all the other urban detritus that really belongs in a skip or in a council estate.

    Inclusively:

  • smcgiff

    “Okay next topic: who is worse Audi drivers or BMWs?”

    Tsk – Audi drivers are the epitome of careful and considerate driving. And, if you don’t agree with me, I’ll mow you down like the plebeian lowlife you don’t realise you are.