Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Licensing driving

One of the more ambivalent results of my poll was the area of vehicle and driver licensing. My unthinking reaction is that we need it and that government should do it.

But when I thought about it a little more, I was a lot less certain. It is, after all, an area where I'd be encouraging government regulation. And you would also then have to accept all the regulations that apply to driving, like speed limits and "keep left, pass right" and "this sign means you have to do this" and so on.

And I wondered, from an anarchist point of view how I'd feel about driving on completely unregulated roads. I initially thought that insurance would be extortionate, although if it wasn't compulsory, the market would probably counteract that - people would insure on their expectations, rather than taking it up the arse because the government said we had to.

But would the compromise of knowing that most drivers have at least a basic level of skill and all tentatively agree on the same basic rules improve safety to the point that we would have a better life? Or would the fact that you really would have to assume that everyone else out there was an uninsured, untrained driver make people drive more carefully and courteously?

It's an interesting thought.

12 comments:

marksany said...

There is a movement that says road signs don't help and junctions flow better without traffic lights- which sounds a bit anarchist?

A Zimbo said...

Try driving in Nairobi or perhaps even better, Pakistan. That should give you a feel for what driving without an enforced highway code is like.

On the other hand, plod hardly enforces the highway code here in the UK. He simply relies on cameras to enforce the revenue earning parts of the code and ignores the rest.

Anonymous said...

A town in Holland, I think it is, has removed all road signs and white lines and there has been a drop in accidents.
Everyone knows how much smoother traffic flows at some junctions when the lights fail.
I believe that in Switzerland you cannot insure against damage to yourself or your car --only against damage to third parties. Makes for very courteous driving.
Careful driving is a mindset. In New Zealand cities they drive with such elaborate care they dither themselves to a stand still. Out in the sticks however they kill each other with enthusiasm.

Anonymous said...

I know of people that would buy shitty cars for a few hundred quid (in cash), and would not register/insure whatever them.

Then when (never if) they crashed, they would just get out and walk away.

Furor Teutonicus said...

A Zimbo said...

Try driving in Nairobi or perhaps even better, Pakistan. That should give you a feel for what driving without an enforced highway code is like.

On the other hand, plod hardly enforces the highway code here in the UK. He simply relies on cameras to enforce the revenue earning parts of the code and ignores the rest.


WHAT fucking shit you been smoking boy?

The Highway code is ADVISORY, it is NOT ther fucking LAW. It can NOT be enforced by ANY fucker.

At BEST if you have an accident, it can be mentioned in prosecution, that what you did was contrary to the ADVICE in the H.C, but NO, and I mean NO FUCKER can be done for "breaking the highway code".

Angry Exile said...

@ Anon - somewhere in London too I heard.

@ Furor Teutonicus, you're right about the HC but in fairness plenty of its rules (their term) refer to laws like the Road Traffic Act. If you ended up in court for a motoring offence I guess they'd probably refer to the appropriate bit of law that says what you were doing wasn't allowed and maybe the HC rule as well to show that it's not some obscure law that nobody outside the legal profession has heard of.

On rules generally - here in the bottom right hand corner of Australia there are a similar number of road rules to the HC. Speeding particularly is strictly enforced with little sympathy and less leeway given. Much heavier fines too. And yet most people drive like fucking tools. You think Britain's roads are full of 'em? Try a few months here. It'd only be a matter of time before you had someone doing 60mph only a few yards behind you - not because he's an impatient tailgating cunt trying to bully you out of the way but because he's so paranoid of the speeding police that he's too busy watching the fucking needle of his speedo to have given any thought to what size gap he should leave to the car in front. I kid you not, I've heard of someone who got pinged on the way to Sydney and again on the way back, and the two fines cost him more than a Mel-Syd return flight plus taxis.

And yet they keep going on about how road deaths aren't falling, or not as fast as they ought to given the strict rules. Maybe, just maybe, the rules are not the solution. Maybe they are even part of the problem. Still, nice little earner so it won't change anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Who owns the road?

In a Libetarian world I'd imagine road owners would want a basic level of driving skill, (maybe just to avoid the kerbs getting trashed.)

Driving schools would compete and the most successful would be the ones most road owners would accept

Furor Teutonicus said...

Angry Exile said...

@ Anon - somewhere in London too I heard.

@ Furor Teutonicus, you're right about the HC but in fairness plenty of its rules (their term) refer to laws like the Road Traffic Act. If you ended up in court for a motoring offence I guess they'd probably refer to the appropriate bit of law that says what you were doing wasn't allowed and maybe the HC rule as well to show that it's not some obscure law that nobody outside the legal profession has heard of.


Aye. That's where I said it CAN be used to show that you were careless, or whatever, so causing an accident, or comitting an offence. You will be done for breaking the LAW, NOT the "Highway Code".

What pissed me off about the post I was answering is, yet AGAIN, the police get it in the neck for something that is TOTALY outside of their remit, from someone who knows fuck all about the job, OR, obviously in this case, the LAW.

The Great Simpleton said...

Its called Naked Roads and you can find out about it here.

http://www.brake.org.uk/facts/naked-roads

I also see that there was no increase in RTAs when Swindon removed speed cameras.

http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/archives/008019.html


Oh dear, not good results for those who would nanny us.

John Pickworth said...

Roads without rules?

Seems to work just fine elsewhere in the world:

India (video)

Hanoi (video)

Bring it on ;-)

James D said...

I suspect what you'd demonstrate in libertarian-Britain is the differences in driving culture. There's a really big difference between the two sides of the Wales-England border: in Cardiff, you're far more likely to get let out than in Bristol (or at least it feels like it anecdotally), but you're also more likely to end up screaming at the guy in front "how many colours green do you want!?!" before he dawdles through the lights on amber. I wouldn't be surprised if in one way or another, the border showed up in statistics afterwards.

And if you abolished motor insurance (which is completely reasonable if you can afford the damage you may cause), resultant bankruptcies would have to be treated as equivalent to fraud: there would be an element of fault.

But I feel that the argument for abolishing driving tests is really quite strong. It should ideally be combined with a duty on insurance companies to presume innocence: i.e. a high-claims penalty, rather than a no-claims bonus. This would promote the sort of responsibility that is expected of the libertarian citizen.

CountingCats said...

Why do you assume a Libertarian society would not have road rules?
Given that the roads would still be owned by someone it is reasonable that road users abide by whatever restrictions the owner imposes as a condition of access.

In other words, private licensing rather than public.