March 14, 2012

Attempts to return Britain’s roads to a state of pre-industrial tranquility continue apace. With many youngsters now effectively seen off by ‘sky-high premiums’, the focus is shifting to the elderly.

Older drivers, as an in-depth report in the Telegraph recently pointed out, wear flat caps, drive the wrong way up motorways, thoughtlessly enrage younger drivers by driving too slowly, and generally just get in the way.

From a 72-page report published by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, me-me-meishly entitled “It’s My Choice”, the Telegraph’s reporter learned that “there are now six million over-70s on our roads, where there were fewer than a million 35 years ago.”

This is clearly unacceptable. “What’s needed,” the report concludes, “is a national strategy for an ageing car-driver population.” The need appears somewhat urgent. Unless something is done, the situation could soon be getting a whole lot worse.

“80 per cent of 60 to 69-year-olds,” the paper relates, “currently hold licences and are expected to continue driving for another 20 years.” In other words, virtually everyone driving will soon be utterly ancient. “Forget the baby-boomers,” observes the Telegraph, clearly winding up for something special… “these are the baby-vroomers.”

Just in case you missed what they did there (perhaps it’s been some time since you last watched TV aimed at a pre-school audience), vroom is the sound that motor cars make when they go along. Ignoring the fact that the average baby boomer is now in their mid-fifties, the pun works brilliantly well.

Many different solutions to the older driver menace have been suggested. We could force the old dears to get their eyes tested or ask opticians to dob them in, we could actually test them when they re-apply for a licence every three years after 70, curfew the b*ggers from 4pm til 10am, hide their keys, etc. etc.

But perhaps the answer simply lies in extending the use of the mandatory black box technology that will soon play a key role in identifying all those millions of Brits who are not really fit to take control of two tonnes of fast-moving life-threatening metal (i.e most people).

Pensioners could be monitored at all times, then barred if they dawdled, slowed suddenly on roundabouts, used their brakes excessively, reacted slowly to lights turning green, dithered about a bit, etc. etc.

Bingo, problem solved.

Click on the image above to see something not remotely patronising.


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