16 05 2006

OK, I know that the greatest incidence of car accidents and loss of life is with those aged 17-25, and I know that SOME of them are hoons (a small percentage), but why target ALL P-platers (probationary drivers) with the same draconian laws? Western Australia's "nanny" legislators are bringing in some very tough measures designed to reduce the likelihood of injury to our young people. But I have some serious doubts.

Where is the evidence to show that such measures actually DO reduce the death and accident rate? What other countries have implemented such measures successfully?

Where is the evidence to show that the incidence now is any different to what it was 10 years ago, or 15, 20, 30, or even 50 years ago?

So what are these laws?

Well, the ones that I questioned on hearing about them the other day are those concerned with curfews and number of people in the car of a P-plater. With these new laws, P-platers cannot drive between midnight and 5:00am, and they can't have more than one passenger in the car with them at any one time. Oh, and they have to have their driving supervised by a 'responsible adult' for longer after actually gaining their license and will have to have much longer supervised log book time when they are on L-plates (Learner plates).

I'm not so fussed about the length of time for supervised driving, but I am concerned about the curfew and the number of passengers aspects. Why? Because for MANY young people – who ARE responsible kids – these measures will stop them from getting employment and getting an education, further alienating a group who already feels alienated from society.

With the current cost of fuel, how can a struggling uni student who does the right thing by the environment and their pocket, now deal with the fact that they can no longer car pool and share rides to/from uni? Please don't say "Use public transport" – in Perth, this is NOT practical for many kids because it would entail at least a 2-hour trip each way, with changeovers at bus/train stations etc. So what will be the result? I can see a few scenarios – kids will risk not being caught and continue to share rides; perhaps kids will drop out of uni because catching public transport is too hard or the cost of fuel (when not shared) is too high; maybe they'll become more dependent on their parents for rides at a time when their independence is so paramount.

And the curfew… how does that help kids who have part-time jobs working in the hospitality industry, for example? If they have to be home before midnight, they could easily lose their job. Those who pack the supermarket shelves in the middle of the night will be similarly affected. All because someone decided that midnight was somehow different to any other time of the day and that these kids had to be tucked up in bed by then. Unfortunately, these 'kids' aren't 'kids' any more – they are at least 17, and seeing as though you only have to be 18 to vote and to drink, I can't see them complying with these draconian laws for very long.

Dirty rotten cold

16 05 2006

Somewhere on the flights from the US to Australia I picked up a cold. It didn’t manifest itself into anything until last Sunday night – a week after we got home. First symptoms were a horrible sore throat with an inability to swallow, followed by a very rough voice that went in and out over the next couple of days, then the sinus congestion, and now the cough. Some 9 days after it started (and with 2 days off work last week) it seems to be waning… but now my husband has it. So here’s hoping it doesn’t come back to revisit me. It’s a nasty, filthy thing that lays you low.

Shocker Dockers!

16 05 2006

I wasn’t going to write about the 3 hours I wasted on Saturday afternoon watching the footy live on TV, but I am… What a disappointment after the phenomenal game last week against the Eagles. In the Derby, the Dockers played well and as a team, with heart, passion, and soul. This Saturday they had a flash of brilliance in the first 90 seconds, scoring 2 goals (including Jeff Farmer’s 400th milestone), then…. nothing! Their next goal came about 15 mins into the second quarter. It’s not that they didn’t get it into their 50 – they did; they just couldn’t convert those forays into scores on the board. Invariably a long bomb into our 50 landed beautifully in the hands of a Melbourne player.

Did they play with heart, soul, and passion? No! Were the fans and supporters disappointed? You bet! Do I want to talk about it any more? No way. Let’s move on to this week…