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Teaching your children to drive

Thursday 19th January, 2012 at 14:01 COMMENTS (0)

Have you ever taught or considered teaching your children to drive?

If the answer is yes, you wouldn't be alone as increasing numbers of teenage learner drivers are turning to the "Mum and Dad driving school" as they find professional lessons too expensive. 

Although learner drivers are increasingly seeking to keeps costs down by relying on 'freebie' tuition from family and friends it might not necessarily be cost effective and not always as straightforward as it seems. 

For example, a recent survey found 17% of people learning to drive with family or friends said it was "a bad experience" and they would not recommend it to fellow learners.  As many as 46% having amateur tuition cited in-car arguments while 27% reckoned they picking up bad driving habits

Taking a stressful situation and adding in arguments, bad behaviour and family friction can mean it becomes a nightmare for all involved.  Amateur instructors are also likely to miss vital parts of the picture, such as making sure the learner is insured to drive the vehicle they are learning in.  This could have serious and long-lasting consequences for all involved. 

There are now two instances whereby learner drivers have caused deaths while being supervised by unqualified persons. 

Why have these scenarios occurred?

Earlier, I asked the question, have you ever taught or considered teaching your children to drive?" but the question should have been, Why are you considering teaching or why have you taught your children to drive?

As parents, we would like to consider ourselves as role models for our children based on our experiences morals and attitude. 

After all, as adults we have accumulated a foundation of life experiences and knowledge that may include family responsibilities, and previous education. 

Throughout my years so far I have learnt much about life through participation, observation and conversation.  This has included jumping from an aeroplane, observing my children being born and more simply, gaining numerous qualifications in secondary and further education. 

All this said, I wouldn't dream of teaching any of these skills to anybody else, let alone the people I care about most.  This would be left to the specialist in the given subject. 

If People can learn by observing the behaviour of others and the outcomes of those behaviours then parents must model appropriate behaviours and take care that they do not model inappropriate behaviours. 

Frequently, parents that passed a driving test with only 10 hours of tuition and have driven for 20 -30 years claim these experiences sufficiently qualify them to supervise a learner driver. 

During this time, how often has that same parent found the time to read the Highway code or taken any kind of professional training to supplement their experiences?

Experience is exactly that, experience.  That does not necessarily suggest that the experience is correct or good. 

How can the government help?

Currently, regulations allow any individual over the age of 21 and have held a full driving licence for at least 3 years to supervise provisional learner drivers. 

Recently, Mr Penning (Road Safety Minister) suggested he wants to stop unqualified (trainee) instructors (PDIs) giving driving tuition. 

It has been suggested, the Government should either make it illegal for non qualified persons to give any driving instruction whatsoever to learner drivers, this should include parents, spouses, relatives and friends

Alternatively, force them to attend a training course before supervising learner drivers. 

An e-petition has been created so that when a 100,000 signatures have been collected it will be debated in the House of Commons.  You can sign the e-petition here

Your thoughts are invited. 

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