What to Make of the Recent Car/Building Collisions
Since August, there have been over a dozen separate incidents of people accidentally driving their cars into the face of different buildings. The question is, what do we make of it? Is this some trend that we must address, or is it simply a string of coincidence?
We can look at these events in two ways; let's look at our first option. We can say that the recent accidents can be attributed to simple coincidence, nothing more, nothing less. Events happen sporadically that we have no control over, and maybe this is no different. If it was the same person doing this over and over, we'd simply revoke their license and see if they had any ulterior motives or intentions. It's not one person, however, each case has involved different people in different vehicles. I think that many people would like to believe that this is all coincidence, it would mean less dollars spent on any type of an investigation or changes to our licensing system. Coincidence is certainly a possibility, but not something that I'd like to put much stock into. If it were only a handful of incidents, coincidence would surely be the popular explanation. However, we're on out third handful here, folks.
In our second option, we must question whether some drivers are apt enough to be on the road in the first place. In his column, Bruce Andriatch makes an appropriate point about licensing. He states that out that it would be unfair to place undue blame on the elderly, who are often scapegoats for poor driving:
"The focus should not be on the driver’s age," he says, “but the driver’s competence. That’s why there is reason to look to Iowa for an approach that strikes a good compromise. Iowans must renew their driver’s licenses every two years instead of every five years, once they hit 70. All state residents, regardless of age, must renew in person and take a vision test."
I think that while there is no question about the headache this would cause for drivers, who would have to make the daunting trip to the DMV, it's a good solution for making sure all drivers on the road are physically able to safely handle a vehicle. It's clear that some drivers on the road right now are NOT able to safely drive. Avoiding buildings is easy for someone to do if they know what they are doing and have clear vision.
Moving away from eyesight or age, the driving test as it stands does not show that one is capable of driving. Last time I checked, the road test included driving at 25-30 mph around a neighborhood while the evaluator makes sure that you are able to parallel park. How many times have you had to parallel park in the last year? For those of you who live in the suburbs, the answer is probably zero. Well, how many times have you had to drive over 30 mph in the past year? The answer is everyday. I think we can all admit that driving 30 mph around residential streets and driving 60 mph on major thruways are two completely different animals. However, one can receive their license without ever having to prove that they can competently drive at highway speeds. Merging may be one of the hardest things to do on the road, yet there is no test for this. Through all of this, one can receive their license at age 16, and go through their entire life without ever having to be re-tested. Do these things sound right to you?
Simply attributing the recent incidents to coincidence is short-sighted and ignorant in my opinion; There clearly is something bigger going on here. This might be the wakeup call the state needs for them to either toughen up driving tests, or require re-testing. We might better off in the long-run if our leaders implement these plans. It would help lower insurance costs and accident rates, and better yet reassure business owners that their buildings are safe from oncoming traffic.