Monday, July 24, 2006

Dear Editor: I hate you.

As many of you know I am a complainer! I write letters to the editors, I call companies and complain, I visit websites just to provide “feedback.” If I’m not satisfied, someone’s gonna know about it, goddammit! And if they know what’s good for them, they’re gonna do something about it!

Of course, I do not always receive satisfaction after complaining. Complaining to a company can result in money off a bill, a gift certificate or some such token of “we regret the inconvenience.” Complaining to the “Government” or some other power-that-is normally only results in a PFO letter (you know what I’m talking about, right Shannon? I’m sure you’ve written your share of these to the concerned and involved citizens of Alberta!). Still, I relish in the fact that someone, somewhere had to devote a portion of their 9-5 to penning a response to my rant.

So, my latest letter is to AMA (Alberta Motor Association) and the Alberta Traffic Safety Initiative. I figure the blog is the appropriate and perfect place for me to share my letters with you. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

This letter is about how crappy I think it is that all new Alberta drivers, regardless of age, are subject to graduated licensing rules intended to stop 16 year old drivers from driving drunk after bush parties and/or while receiving a hand-job:

Re: “Licensed To Chill: Restrictions for new drivers are freeing up some encouraging stats” (June 2006)

Alberta’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) is likely going a long way in ensuring that young drivers observe basic road safety. Your statistics indicate that 20% of new Alberta drivers are involved in a traffic collision in their first two years of driving. It is a great accomplishment if the GDL program can reduce the tragic injuries and deaths that often accompany these accidents.

However, the GDL program is flawed in one area and that is that all new drivers, regardless of their age, are subject to the strict (or as Ian MacNeill suggests in the article, “draconian”) rules of the GDL program. I do not want to paint all young adults with the same brush, but many in this age group simply do not have the life experience or maturity necessary to make good and safe decisions about driving. New adult drivers, however, are more likely to take driving seriously and are certainly better equipped to make safe decisions about driving.

I received my “GDL” last year – I was 30 years old. My reasons for not driving earlier are numerous, but the primary ones are that when I was a young adult I did not feel ready to drive, I did not really have the need to drive, and I simply could not afford to purchase, maintain and insure a vehicle on my own. At 30, I was more than ready and able to start driving and, as my husband and I were starting a family, I needed to drive for practical reasons.

I have now held my graduated license for over one year. I always drive under the speed limit; I observe the rules of driving through construction zones; I know more about the rules of uncontrolled intersections then most of my family or friends; I have never driven under the influence of anything. Why is it, then, that under the proposed new rules I could not drive my babysitter home after 9 pm? Under the proposed new rules, I could not even catch an evening movie with a friend. Why must mature, responsible adults be stuck in GDL limbo for at least 2 years?

My insurance company recognizes that I do not pose the same risk as a 16-year-old new driver. It would be nice if AMA and the Alberta Office of Traffic Safety could do the same. I’m sure that the considerable number of new adult drivers in Alberta would appreciate it.


At 11:41 AM , Anonymous akk said...

Love it! It makes me feel much better about the world knowing that there are people, like you, who still write *letters* of complaint. Good on ya'. As a public health professional who worked on the GDL program (ummmm... sorry), I have to say that I agree with you. The stats support GDL for new teenage drivers but I'm not aware of any data supporting old (sorry) new drivers. We await the AMA's response!

At 2:00 PM , Blogger Momily said...

You should know, then, that I regularly drive to live and never run a red, so I won't be stopped dead. . .

Thank-you for the support. I know there are lots of other old drivers out there just like me - especially with the boom /immigration goign on.

At 2:07 PM , Blogger FELIPE TAMAYO COLLINS said...

love you style

At 3:19 PM , Blogger Momily said...

How exciting to have been read by someone in South America! We are indeed a global village =:)


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