One of the indisputable facts of road safety is the high accident rate among teen drivers. Like all people learning new skills, mistakes are not uncommon. The problem with drivers is the danger to others when a vehicle can be a dangerous weapon. The question is whether the behind-the-wheel driving test is sufficiently rigorous to ensure only well-trained and essentially safe drivers are allowed sole control of a heavy projectile moving along a road at speed. This question is being actively discussed in the small country of New Zealand after a very public assault on a testing officer. The young man had just been failed in the practical driving test and he took out his anger by punching the tester. In 2013, there were fifteen recorded incidents of verbal abuse or physical assaults on testers. In 2012, there were sixteen incidents.
If testers become afraid of the reaction should they fail learners, the standards of the driving test will fall and more dangerous youngsters will be allowed a driver’s license. This violence may be less likely in America because the practical tests in many states is short and easy to pass — but that’s a different problem albeit one producing the same result.