1990: "Driving Cars"

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somitomi
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1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby somitomi » Mon May 07, 2018 5:49 pm UTC

Image
Title text: It's probably just me. If driving were as dangerous as it seems, hundreds of people would be dying every day!

What, you mean people in the US don't have to take a mandated number of driving lessons even before being allowed to take a driving exam?

Demki
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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby Demki » Mon May 07, 2018 5:56 pm UTC

Here you have to take at least 28 lessons, along with a theoretical exam, before you are allowed to test for a driving license.

Doesn't stop people from driving badly.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby petercooperjr » Mon May 07, 2018 5:58 pm UTC

somitomi wrote:What, you mean people in the US don't have to take a mandated number of driving lessons even before being allowed to take the exam?

Driving laws in the US are generally regulated by the state level, not the federal level, though likely there are a lot of standards that the federal government requires for to get more funding. If memory serves, in my state driver's ed training is only required if you want to get a license before age 18, but once you're 18 you just need to pass the written test to get a learner's permit and then a road test to get a license. Taking driver's ed training can help reduce one's insurance cost, and people generally do it.

I do suspect that if at the time cars were first invented everybody knew how many injuries and fatalities they would cause, they'd never have been allowed. Somehow it all came upon everybody slowly enough that it's considered acceptable risk to drive now, and of course cars have been getting safer and safer over the years, but it is kind of bizarre how we got here.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby Unclevertitle » Mon May 07, 2018 6:02 pm UTC

This. This is why I didn't actually get a driver's license until I was 24 even when the legal driving age in my state is 16. Some people are excited about every opportunity they get to control a two ton lethal weapon at breakneck speeds down crowded roadways where pedestrians can invade without warning. That wasn't me I basically avoided every driving opportunity if my parents didn't bring it up themselves.

Driving still terrifies me, but strangely the fact that I now have a piece of plastic that says that I'm qualified to drive by myself brings me a great deal of comfort. Also the fact that now there's only one consciousness in the vehicle judging my every movement and action and I don't have to guess what that consciousness is thinking of me at every step of the journey I instead know instantly with no effort. I don't have to notice every stressed tension of their muscles in response to what must have been some kind of mistake I made as they reflexively press against the floor in lieu of a brake pedal.

The first time I drove a car on my own I was almost giddy at the "silence" I felt while inside the vehicle. It was the first time I realized driving could hypothetically be fun one day.

I still don't consider it fun. But it's much less stressful after getting the license than before.

somitomi wrote:What, you mean people in the US don't have to take a mandated number of driving lessons even before being allowed to take the exam?


Driving laws vary state by state but I remember that before I was 18 there was a required number of minimum hours of self-reported (with parental signature) driving experience that I had to have before I could take the exam.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby Kilader » Mon May 07, 2018 6:10 pm UTC

Is no one going to bring up the fact that it seems Randall accidentally left a sketch of Cueball turned on? There's a bigger and rougher Cueball slightly transparent, and it's distracting...

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby DavidSh » Mon May 07, 2018 6:10 pm UTC

petercooperjr wrote:I do suspect that if at the time cars were first invented everybody knew how many injuries and fatalities they would cause, they'd never have been allowed. Somehow it all came upon everybody slowly enough that it's considered acceptable risk to drive now, and of course cars have been getting safer and safer over the years, but it is kind of bizarre how we got here.


Does anybody know the fatality rate per passenger mile of horses, or horse-drawn vehicles? Not as fast as automobiles, typically, but control of a large animal isn't certain.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby cellocgw » Mon May 07, 2018 6:19 pm UTC

If you want to get more scared,

1) there is no minimum age to get an aircraft pilot's license. (for personal use. Becoming a commercial pilot is another story)

2) There is no minimum age, and not even a license requirement, to handle most all boats. (again, for personal use)

3) I wonder if there is any USA law banning passengers or "pilots" on the basis of age for spacecraft.
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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby Qaanol » Mon May 07, 2018 6:19 pm UTC

Why is there a ghost behind Cueball?
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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby The Synologist » Mon May 07, 2018 6:23 pm UTC

Qaanol wrote:Why is there a ghost behind Cueball?

WHOA you have good eyes. Probably a mistake, Randall might fix it.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby DanAxtell » Mon May 07, 2018 6:28 pm UTC

Carriages without horses shall go,
And accidents fill the world with woe.


- 16th Century prophesy by Mother Shipton often misattributed to Nostradamus, but it all turns out to be a 19th Century hoax, I learn as I compose this comment and check my sources. CLP ( = Colon Left Parenthesis).

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby somitomi » Mon May 07, 2018 6:36 pm UTC

Demki wrote:Here you have to take at least 28 lessons, along with a theoretical exam, before you are allowed to test for a driving license.

Doesn't stop people from driving badly.

It's 30 lessons here and there's no shortage of bad driving here either. So not requiring people to take driving classes at all seems like an utterly mad idea to me.
petercooperjr wrote: If memory serves, in my state driver's ed training is only required if you want to get a license before age 18, but once you're 18 you just need to pass the written test to get a learner's permit and then a road test to get a license. Taking driver's ed training can help reduce one's insurance cost, and people generally do it.

Damn, seriously? People take driver's ed because it saves on insurance costs? I mean the end result is probably the same, but I'd be much more comfortable if the reason was that it's mandatory.
Unclevertitle wrote:Driving laws vary state by state but I remember that before I was 18 there was a required number of minimum hours of self-reported (with parental signature) driving experience that I had to have before I could take the exam.

Isn't that just asking the less honest kids to forge their parents' signature? Provided the parents don't obligingly sign whatever so that the kids can drive themselves to school?
Unclevertitle wrote:This. This is why I didn't actually get a driver's license until I was 24 even when the legal driving age in my state is 16. Some people are excited about every opportunity they get to control a two ton lethal weapon at breakneck speeds down crowded roadways where pedestrians can invade without warning. That wasn't me I basically avoided every driving opportunity if my parents didn't bring it up themselves.

I was quite eager to start driving and I enjoy it even more now, that I can handle most situations with reasonable confidence. But even back when "nervous" was the default state while driving I'd never miss an opportunity do drive. I had to go through the abovementioned training though, so the little bit of plastic allowing me to drive had some weight to it.
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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby sonar1313 » Mon May 07, 2018 6:38 pm UTC

somitomi wrote:https://xkcd.com/1990/

What, you mean people in the US don't have to take a mandated number of driving lessons even before being allowed to take a driving exam?

Nah, it's just that between this and the "Warning" comic, Randall seems to be staking out a position that's very strongly in favor of complete and total self-driving capabilities ASAP.

A lot of the "humans are bad at driving" talk is misguided, IMO. Both this comic and "Warning" are misleading (in that, if evolution did not prepare us to do this, we'd be completely incapable of doing it.) Humans are in fact outstanding at driving - so good, that we've become very overconfident, which is the real cause of most human error behind the wheel (drinking/texting and driving, for example.)

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby DavidSh » Mon May 07, 2018 6:40 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:If you want to get more scared,

1) there is no minimum age to get an aircraft pilot's license. (for personal use. Becoming a commercial pilot is another story)


In the US, all of the FAA-generated certificates I can find have minimum ages. For example,
§61.83 Eligibility requirements for student pilots.
To be eligible for a student pilot certificate, an applicant must:
(a) Be at least 16 years of age for other than the operation of a glider or balloon.
(b) Be at least 14 years of age for the operation of a glider or balloon.
(c) Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. If the applicant is unable to meet one of these requirements due to medical reasons, then the Administrator may place such operating limitations on that applicant's pilot certificate as are necessary for the safe operation of the aircraft.


Are you thinking of another jurisdiction, or is there a loophole somewhere?

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby heuristically_alone » Mon May 07, 2018 6:46 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:2) There is no minimum age, and not even a license requirement, to handle most all boats. (again, for personal use)

At least in my state I had to get a boating license when I was 14 to drive a boat because I was under 16. The only requirement was taking a written test though
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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby qvxb » Mon May 07, 2018 6:48 pm UTC

Cueball,

Listen to the following Beach Boys' songs

409
Little Deuce Coupe
Shut Down
Fun, Fun, Fun

Repeat until feeling of dread subsides

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby jello34543 » Mon May 07, 2018 6:48 pm UTC

petercooperjr wrote:I do suspect that if at the time cars were first invented everybody knew how many injuries and fatalities they would cause, they'd never have been allowed. Somehow it all came upon everybody slowly enough that it's considered acceptable risk to drive now, and of course cars have been getting safer and safer over the years, but it is kind of bizarre how we got here.


They knew, even way back then, just how dangerous cars were. Reckless drivers were killing people walking in the streets (legal at the time) right back to the dawn of the automobile age. "Jaywalking" is a crime invented by the auto industry to shift the blame off of reckless drivers and onto the innocent pedestrians they killed. Automobiles were in genuine danger of being banned before marketing and lobbying accomplished said blame shifting.

DavidSh wrote:In the US, all of the FAA-generated certificates I can find have minimum ages.
...
Are you thinking of another jurisdiction, or is there a loophole somewhere?


Loophole. A student pilot's cert is only required for solo flight, trainees can be younger. The only restrictions on age come in if you are trying to set records or engaged in competition, as a result of the crash/death of Jessica Dubroff in 1996.

(edit: fixed second quote attribution)
Last edited by jello34543 on Mon May 07, 2018 6:59 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon May 07, 2018 6:50 pm UTC

petercooperjr wrote:I do suspect that if at the time cars were first invented everybody knew how many injuries and fatalities they would cause, they'd never have been allowed. Somehow it all came upon everybody slowly enough that it's considered acceptable risk to drive now, and of course cars have been getting safer and safer over the years, but it is kind of bizarre how we got here.


At the time cars were first invented, health and safety standards were a lot more relaxed generally. If cars were first invented now, then, sure, there'd be great difficulty in getting them accepted. Particularly as they're apparently becoming generally recognised as a convenient weapon for lone wolf terrorism...

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby fluffysheap » Mon May 07, 2018 7:11 pm UTC

Loophole. A student pilot's cert is only required for solo flight, trainees can be younger. The only restrictions on age come in if you are trying to set records or engaged in competition, as a result of the crash/death of Jessica Dubroff in 1996.

As far as I know the setting records thing isn't a legal issue at all, the record keepers just decided to stop accepting new age-related records for such things.

The original post said there wasn't any age restriction for a (private) license, and at least in the US, that just isn't right. You need to be 16 to get a student certificate (needed for solo flight) and 18 to get a true private pilot's license. You can receive training while younger, but the instructor is in charge the whole time, and has a complete set of controls.

(The student certificate is much more restricted than the true private license: no passengers, and you can fly for training purposes only, to destinations assigned by your instructor).

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby jello34543 » Mon May 07, 2018 7:17 pm UTC

fluffysheap wrote:
Loophole. A student pilot's cert is only required for solo flight, trainees can be younger. The only restrictions on age come in if you are trying to set records or engaged in competition, as a result of the crash/death of Jessica Dubroff in 1996.

As far as I know the setting records thing isn't a legal issue at all, the record keepers just decided to stop accepting new age-related records for such things.


Incorrect. It is a violation of the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1996. (Title VI - Child Pilot Safety)

The original post said there wasn't any age restriction for a (private) license...


Fair point. You/DavidSh are correct that there is a minimum age to be licensed.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby JohnTheWysard » Mon May 07, 2018 7:33 pm UTC

And what baffles me is the number of folks who dread and avoid ever getting in a commercial airliner, but think nothing of handing their loopy 17 year old the car keys.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby Unclevertitle » Mon May 07, 2018 7:39 pm UTC

somitomi wrote:Isn't that just asking the less honest kids to forge their parents' signature? Provided the parents don't obligingly sign whatever so that the kids can drive themselves to school?


Could be. I remember there being some kind of driving log to fill out to account for the hours but yeah. I'm pretty sure it fairly possible to fake the required hours of experience. I mean they'd still have to pass the actual driving exam regardless. And it'd be pretty obvious to a tester how little driving experience a person might actually have if it were under the limit. Current minimum hours in my state is 65. I don't recall what it was back when I took the test but it wasn't hard to gain that much driving experience even for someone as adverse to driving as I was.

somitomi wrote:I was quite eager to start driving and I enjoy it even more now, that I can handle most situations with reasonable confidence. But even back when "nervous" was the default state while driving I'd never miss an opportunity do drive. I had to go through the abovementioned training though, so the little bit of plastic allowing me to drive had some weight to it.


I don't mean to imply I didn't have adequate instruction. My parents were both rather excellent at teaching me. I am just an anxious bundle of nerves of who freaked out over the test and driving in general. I still avoid driving when possible (I prefer to ride in the car) despite the fact that I now own a vehicle and drive every day to/from work.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby jello34543 » Mon May 07, 2018 7:45 pm UTC

JohnTheWysard wrote:And what baffles me is the number of folks who dread and avoid ever getting in a commercial airliner, but think nothing of handing their loopy 17 year old the car keys.


Humans are really bad at subjective risk assessment. Even though statistics say otherwise, a plane crashing "feels" more dangerous than a car, which barring some truly wild hijinks by said 17 year old isn't going to fall out of the sky.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby pogrmman » Mon May 07, 2018 7:48 pm UTC

I also hate driving. I still haven’t gotten my license (I’m 20) because my parents were willing to shuttle me around and I didn’t want to lug my brother everywhere. Then, with the fact that I get really freaked out going over 35 or so, and my easy distractibility makes me kind of dread it. In my state, you need a 30 hour class plus time behind the wheel with an instructor or parents to to your license before 18. Between 18 and I think 25, you need a 6 hour adult drivers’ ed class, and over 25, you just need to take the driving test.

Re: ghost Cueball, not only is it there, but the drawing looks messier than normal (see how the head isn’t closed?) It’s gotra be a mistake (but it might be intentional — is he being possessed by the ghost of himself from the future who was killed in a car crash? The not all the way closed head could be a way of saying that he’s dead...)

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby Sableagle » Mon May 07, 2018 8:07 pm UTC

For a while I dated a woman who did not understand why I never seemed relaxed and happy while attempting to control most of a tonne of steel, aluminium, glass, rubber, copper, plastic, fabric, battery acid and flammable liquid at speeds up to 30 m/s using only the friction of four balloons on a layer of cooled oil and guided almost entirely by vision while surrounded by egocentric, impatient, overconfident idiots attempting approximately the same task but not giving it their full attention.

qvxb wrote:Cueball,

Listen to the following Beach Boys' songs

409
Little Deuce Coupe
Shut Down
Fun, Fun, Fun

Repeat until feeling of dread subsides


Then listen to Jan and Dean singing Dead Man's curve and understand that you were right to be afraid, after all.

Regarding horses:
Dr John Silver, emeritus spinal injuries consultant, researched serious injuries in professional rugby union, gymnastics and trampolining, and horse riding, over a period of many years.

He found many serious accidents resulted from a "mismatch between the skills of the participant and the task attempted".

"It wasn't necessarily that the task was too difficult for a top international rider. A lot were occurring in eventing, people were attempting cross country tasks against time and they couldn't do them against time."

Many other serious accidents happened on the roads.

"Cars, horses and riders are a lethal combination," he adds.

Higginson agreed that eventing was perhaps the most dangerous part of riding. Many television viewers will be familiar with the daunting height of some of the obstacles jumped.

"They are just very large, very heavy animals. If the horse falls over that's when it's most worrying."

But, she emphasises, accidents happen in more mundane circumstances.

"It can happen to people out hacking [riding at a walking pace]."

Safety equipment has become more widespread with many riders not countenancing the idea of jumping without a helmet and chest protector. There are even air bags for horse riders which are strapped to the person's body and triggered by a release cord when a rider begins to fall.

In his paper Hazards of Horse-riding as a Popular Sport, Dr Silver cited a study from 1985 that suggested motorcyclists suffered a serious accident once every 7,000 hours but a horse rider could expect a serious incident once in every 350 hours.

Dr Silver also cites a figure from 1992 of 12 equestrian-related fatalities from 2.87 million participants. He also notes that in the period from 1994-1999, 3% of all spinal cord injury patients admitted to Stoke Mandeville Hospital were the result of horse riding.


For more data, Wikipedantica has a table you can sort for death rates per 100,000 per year, per 100,000 vehicles or per billion vehicle-km, ranging from 0 to 73.4 (WTF LIBYA?), from 1.8 to 9462.5 (WTF GUINEA?) and from 3.5 to 15.6 (most countries' data missing),

... and the UK government has a site about it too. Whether you trust .gov.uk as a source of information mroe than you trust a wikithing is up to you.
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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby ucim » Mon May 07, 2018 8:50 pm UTC

somitomi wrote:It's 30 lessons here and there's no shortage of bad driving here either. So not requiring people to take driving classes at all seems like an utterly mad idea to me.
On the contrary, it suggests that requiring people to take driving classes has no effect, and therefore the requirement is idiotic. The problem lies elsewhere.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby Patedoz » Mon May 07, 2018 9:00 pm UTC

Qaanol wrote:Why is there a ghost behind Cueball?

Came here just to see if someone else has noticed that.
It could be a mistake OR the begining of an elaborated joke that will be complete on xkcd 2000. That would be a cool way of disguising the error..

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby Soupspoon » Mon May 07, 2018 9:11 pm UTC

I like driving. I know I'm better than some on the road, but know that I'm far from infallible. I've had accidents (never injured anyone else; have damaged my vehicle, always more than the other vehicles that I'd assign varying degrees of co-blame to, from not as stupid as me to actually fully causing the incident to occur) and I've managed to avoid them by not driving quite so idiotically as some.

I ascribe a lot of my road sense to having been a cyclist from a young age (an already practiced road-sense), so I already knew the dangers of the roads (survived a few incidents, obviously - well, not so obvious that I had incidents, but obvious that I survived them… *makes ghost sounds*).

I find that fellow cyclists tend to have good driving skills, while "people on bikes" tend to bring typically bad road-sense to their velocipedic leisure. As a generalisation. And certainly not everyone involved in cycling is perfect!

(Yeah, some of that was just a lead up to sharing that article.)

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby somitomi » Mon May 07, 2018 9:29 pm UTC

Unclevertitle wrote:I don't mean to imply I didn't have adequate instruction. My parents were both rather excellent at teaching me. I am just an anxious bundle of nerves of who freaked out over the test and driving in general. I still avoid driving when possible (I prefer to ride in the car) despite the fact that I now own a vehicle and drive every day to/from work.

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that either. I can sort of relate to you, because my sister has a similar attitude to driving despite now having a license.
ucim wrote:On the contrary, it suggests that requiring people to take driving classes has no effect, and therefore the requirement is idiotic. The problem lies elsewhere.

We're really only going off subjective perceptions about how bad drivers generally are, and Hungarian driver's education might not be the best reference anyway (Hungarian driving examiners are commonly perceived to be corruptible for example, although I don't recall any actual data). On the whole I don't know if mandatory driver's ed makes any difference in road safety, but it's definitely not doing any harm.
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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby DanAxtell » Mon May 07, 2018 11:22 pm UTC

For the record, the car looks a lot like a 2017 or 2018 Honda Fit Sport. Key clues are:
- front triangular "vent" window in front of the driver door.
- circular fuel door on driver side.
- rear window is not visible from side.
- tail lights are below the window level (which rules out the Ford Fiesta Hatch).

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby cellocgw » Mon May 07, 2018 11:23 pm UTC

DavidSh wrote:
cellocgw wrote:If you want to get more scared,

1) there is no minimum age to get an aircraft pilot's license. (for personal use. Becoming a commercial pilot is another story)


In the US, all of the FAA-generated certificates I can find have minimum ages. For example,
§61.83 Eligibility requirements for student pilots.
To be eligible for a student pilot certificate, an applicant must:
(a) Be at least 16 years of age for other than the operation of a glider or balloon.
(b) Be at least 14 years of age for the operation of a glider or balloon.
(c) Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. If the applicant is unable to meet one of these requirements due to medical reasons, then the Administrator may place such operating limitations on that applicant's pilot certificate as are necessary for the safe operation of the aircraft.


Are you thinking of another jurisdiction, or is there a loophole somewhere?


Guess things have changed. I remember years ago some articles about 10-yr olds getting pilot's licenses
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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby JPatten » Mon May 07, 2018 11:31 pm UTC

When I got my License there was no "required" driving time or drivers ed required. All I had to do was pass the written test and the driving test. Which in my case consisted of backing out of the parking lot, driving down to the town square, around the courthouse (sort of a roundabout type deal) and then back up to the courthouse and park. Of course, that was basically 30 years ago now.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby JPatten » Mon May 07, 2018 11:36 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:Guess things have changed. I remember years ago some articles about 10-yr olds getting pilot's licenses


I seem to remember the same thing. THough I think it was 12 or 13 and my dad telling me stories of being able to fly at young ages as well.
I am not surprised it has changed.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby ucim » Mon May 07, 2018 11:38 pm UTC

somitomi wrote:We're really only going off subjective perceptions about how bad drivers generally are, and Hungarian driver's education might not be the best reference anyway (Hungarian driving examiners are commonly perceived to be corruptible for example, although I don't recall any actual data). On the whole I don't know if mandatory driver's ed makes any difference in road safety, but it's definitely not doing any harm.
No, that doesn't follow either (for the same reasons). The assumption that the error rate is the same leads to the conclusion that driver ed does no good, and does harm in that the time and effort spent could be put elsewhere, and in that "doing something" is perceived as "addressing the problem".

But as you say, we don't know that the error rate is the same. Just that in both cases "there is no dearth of errors".

But while the jury is out awaiting true and relevant statistics, I remain unconvinced that the requirement for a certain number of hours before being permitted to take the test does any good (except for driver ed teachers). If you pass the test, you've demonstrated the ability that the test tests, no matter how many hours you put in.

Jose
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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby JPatten » Tue May 08, 2018 12:08 am UTC

Well, our state now requires a driver's ed Course before licensing. THough there is very little driving done in the state offered course. It is mostly lecturing on the dangers of distracted driving/driving under the influence and going over the rules of the road. There are private courses that do more actual driving but they can be pricey because of the need for extra liability insurance. However, even at the cost of the course, it gives savings in the long run on discounts in car insurance. And insurance savings are a GOOD THING.

It turns out that it was ALMOST cheaper to get my daughter her own car rather than have her put on the insurance for our primary vehicle (minivan).
This is because At the time she got her license we were still paying off the loan on the van and the terms of the loan required "comprehensive" coverage so that if the van was totaled we could use the money to pay off the remaining (or most of ) the loan balance. Having a Teen driver on a vehicle with comprehensive coverage is almost prohibitively expensive. So instead We bought her an older model small car. I paid cash $2K and got liability Only. The result was that we now have the flexibility of two vehicles and a very small increase in insurance as opposed to a massive increase in cost PLUS the headaches of trying to schedule a single vehicle for the family when people had multiple places to be at the same time. I saved the cost of the car itself in a year. Even the added fuel cost of two vehicles is lower than if she had been on the van insurance and again the convenience of her being able to go when she needs to on her own without fights over who goes where when.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby GlassHouses » Tue May 08, 2018 2:36 am UTC

somitomi wrote:What, you mean people in the US don't have to take a mandated number of driving lessons even before being allowed to take a driving exam?

When I got my driver's license in the Netherlands, in 1984, there was no mandated minimum number of lessons, as far as I recall. However, the driving test was pretty strict; the road test took about 45 minutes and it really covered pretty much everything, and you got flunked for basically any significant mistake: break a speed limit, fail. Run a stop sign, fail. Etc. The combination of the lack of a minimum number of lessons plus the strict test probably explains why the fail rate was so high -- about 65% if memory serves. (Could be different now, I haven't paid attention to those statistics since then.)

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby RogueCynic » Tue May 08, 2018 3:29 am UTC

Unclevertitle wrote:This. This is why I didn't actually get a driver's license until I was 24 even when the legal driving age in my state is 16. Some people are excited about every opportunity they get to control a two ton lethal weapon at breakneck speeds down crowded roadways where pedestrians can invade without warning. That wasn't me I basically avoided every driving opportunity if my parents didn't bring it up themselves.

Driving still terrifies me, but strangely the fact that I now have a piece of plastic that says that I'm qualified to drive by myself brings me a great deal of comfort. Also the fact that now there's only one consciousness in the vehicle judging my every movement and action and I don't have to guess what that consciousness is thinking of me at every step of the journey I instead know instantly with no effort. I don't have to notice every stressed tension of their muscles in response to what must have been some kind of mistake I made as they reflexively press against the floor in lieu of a brake pedal.

The first time I drove a car on my own I was almost giddy at the "silence" I felt while inside the vehicle. It was the first time I realized driving could hypothetically be fun one day.

I still don't consider it fun. But it's much less stressful after getting the license than before.

somitomi wrote:What, you mean people in the US don't have to take a mandated number of driving lessons even before being allowed to take the exam?


Driving laws vary state by state but I remember that before I was 18 there was a required number of minimum hours of self-reported (with parental signature) driving experience that I had to have before I could take the exam.


In my, and Randall's state, there is no self-reporting the number of hours a person must practice before taking the road test. The requirements for driver's ed are 30 hours of classroom, 6 hours of driving and six hours of observation.
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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby somitomi » Tue May 08, 2018 7:13 am UTC

GlassHouses wrote:
somitomi wrote:What, you mean people in the US don't have to take a mandated number of driving lessons even before being allowed to take a driving exam?

When I got my driver's license in the Netherlands, in 1984, there was no mandated minimum number of lessons, as far as I recall. However, the driving test was pretty strict; the road test took about 45 minutes and it really covered pretty much everything, and you got flunked for basically any significant mistake: break a speed limit, fail. Run a stop sign, fail. Etc. The combination of the lack of a minimum number of lessons plus the strict test probably explains why the fail rate was so high -- about 65% if memory serves. (Could be different now, I haven't paid attention to those statistics since then.)

Driving tests are pretty similar here, they take 50 minutes, you have to do two maneuvers (parking and/or turning around) and you get flunked for breaking any rules or messing the maneuvers up. If I recall correctly making too much smaller mistakes will also result in failing the exam.
ucim wrote:But while the jury is out awaiting true and relevant statistics, I remain unconvinced that the requirement for a certain number of hours before being permitted to take the test does any good (except for driver ed teachers). If you pass the test, you've demonstrated the ability that the test tests, no matter how many hours you put in.

In my experience driving is one of those things practice makes perfect, so I fail to see how the time spent on practicing driving with a trained instructor before getting your license could be spent on more useful things.
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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby Plasma Mongoose » Tue May 08, 2018 7:23 am UTC

Apparently besides myself, several other members of my family were all very reluctant about getting a driver's licence, in fact most of them including myself never did.

The funny thing now is that due to being legally blind, I couldn't go for my driver's licence now even if I wanted to and even if I could, just learning to drive at my age is far from ideal.
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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby Mikeski » Tue May 08, 2018 9:41 am UTC

DavidSh wrote:
petercooperjr wrote:I do suspect that if at the time cars were first invented everybody knew how many injuries and fatalities they would cause, they'd never have been allowed. Somehow it all came upon everybody slowly enough that it's considered acceptable risk to drive now, and of course cars have been getting safer and safer over the years, but it is kind of bizarre how we got here.

Does anybody know the fatality rate per passenger mile of horses, or horse-drawn vehicles? Not as fast as automobiles, typically, but control of a large animal isn't certain.

No idea about horses, but I do recall reading that, in the injuries-per-mile-traveled sense, you would be better off letting bicyclists go bare-headed, and having pedestrians wear those foam half-walnut helmets.

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Re: 1990: "Driving Cars"

Postby nomaduk » Tue May 08, 2018 12:23 pm UTC

Having obtained driving licences in several US states over the years as well as in the UK, all I can say is that if US drivers had to pass the UK driving test (suitably adjusted for US driving) right now, a large majority would fail. I can also say that, having had to study and practise for the UK test for a few months prior to taking it (and I did pass on the first go, though it was one of the most stressful experiences of my life), I'm a better driver now than I ever was before. And finally, having returned to the US and taken the road test in the state in which I now reside, I found it to be a bad joke.

Regarding the comments that driving lessons and exams don't make a difference in fatality rates, I agree that complacency and laziness are probably the primary contributors to any such outcome. I think mandatory periodic (annual?) road testing as a requirement for licence renewal would certainly help.


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