Hit bad drivers in wallet, make training mandatory

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
March 8, 2018 - 5:00am
Image Credit: CFJC Today

The B.C. government’s latest public-input exercise is underway and this time it’s about auto insurance.

The overall objective is logical: make bad drivers pay more for insurance, while good drivers pay less.

Nothing gets people’s attention and modifies behavior like hitting them in the pocket book if they don’t follow the rules. Together with a fine of a couple of thousand dollars for distracted driving, tougher insurance guidelines should make a big difference.

And, we’re being asked for our opinions.

When you look at the survey we’re asked to fill out, though, one gets the impression it’s designed to justify what the government and ICBC already want to do.

Be aware It requires some background reading and it’s lengthy at about 20 minutes.

It strays heavily from opinion questions into data collection, asking for such things as where we’re from, how often we drive, how long we’ve been in B.C., where we got our first driver’s licence.

Why does ICBC want to know how much money we make? What does that have to do with driving safety and auto insurance?

And if somebody drives further than somebody else, what does it matter as long as they both drive safely? Really, do we need to get into submitting photos of our odometers to prove how far we’ve driven, as proposed in the survey?

In some cases, “I don’t know” or “No opinion” is accepted as an answer to a question, but a lot of others are “mandatory” and you get blocked if you don’t answer.

Still, the province is heading in the right direction but besides hitting us in the wallet, there’s another solution that keeps getting overlooked: mandatory driver training.

Not just a suggestion or incentive as it is now. Mandatory.

If every new driver was required to take training from an accredited driving school, and experienced drivers were required to re-train every five or 10 years in a condensed program, you can bet skills and safety would rise significantly.

There would, of course, be substantial costs to it, but given the costs of bad driving, it would be a good investment.

Drivers can take the survey until 4 p.m. on April 5.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.