Skip to main content

Car Insurance Stops Kids Finding Work

If young people can't find work locally, they need to look further afield - as previous generations have always done. But they can't afford to drive and they can't afford to leave their parents' homes. Something has to change.

I've just returned from a Driver Awareness course. Hampshire police offered it to me as an alternative to 3 points and a £60 fine (despite the course costing £85). In true Grombler fashion I have to report it was plainly my wife's fault I got caught. We'd had a small row whilst I was driving with her in the passenger seat. I might have told her to 'shut up' or something like that. After the speed camera had gone off she piped up "I thought you'd seen it. I did". "Well why didn't you bloody well warn me?"... "You told me to shut up".... Wife 2, Grombler -£85.

Unbelievably for the first time in 40 years of driving I am the proud possessor of a totally clean license (although it's only 'technically' clean. The SP-whatevers go onto a follow-on sheet of the green paper license - just they're now all older than 5 years, so no longer count). So I know how easy it is to be sweating on 9 points where another 3 would mean exchanging the car for a bicycle - and a mortgage for my next insurance policy. So there I was along with about 20 other criminals who had been caught by cameras dotted around the county. Actually, to my surprise and relief, the course turned out to be quite interesting. It made me think a bit more carefully about speeding in future. Perhaps it ought to be mandatory for all youngsters when they pass their test....

...Which brings me to the point of this post. Out of all the embarrassed souls on the course, there was only one person under twenty. So much for boy-racers. Virtually everyone was Grombler age. The stats they presented about accidents also suggested that whilst there is certainly a higher risk that the 'recently-passed' youngsters are likely to bend their little run-arounds, the worst accidents, and therefore the costliest, were committed by lazy over-confident but experienced drivers, who should have known better and probably just fell asleep at the wheel.

So why does insurance for youngsters cost so much? Annual rates for 17 / 18 year olds is now over £3,000 pa - for the cheapest car! One woman on the course said she was paying a staggering £5,000 for her 18 year old daughter to drive a £500 car! I think she should shop around a bit more... or move her caravan off the central reservation of the M25 or wherever she must have said she was living... but surely kids shouldn't cost that much more to insure.

But even if they do, there's a social and economic argument for substantially reducing their premiums: Mobility. If kids can't get 'on yer bike' as Norman Tebbit famously advised job-seekers in the Thatcher era, and they can't move out of their parent's homes because they can't afford their own places, how will they ever find work if they don't have the option of driving to it? We're gambling that the parents of out-of-work kids live close enough to where their kids can find work, or at least close enough to local bus routes that don't require multiple changes to connect home with work. The chances these days of that being the case are slimmer than ever.

One of the key reasons America's economy soared in the 20th century was thanks to cheap mobility of  both goods AND labour (or labor if you will). If we continue to allow insurance companies to prevent our kids from getting to where work is, they will simply carry on rotting in front of their parent's TVs and PCs.

So let's be creative about how we charge for insurance of young out-of-work drivers. If we can provide them with sensible costs to help get them to work, and combine it with life-saving training, probably using the latest in-car (or in-phone?) technology like tell-tale black boxes, not only will this save lives (including the people they might hit) but it might just help them climb out of poverty and rebuild our economy.... and the tax they will be paying can be used to repay the original insurance subsidy they received.

Think of it like the current university loan scheme - except instead of your degree helping you to get a job, it's 'yer bike'.


Popular posts from this blog

Phillips screws - yes I'm angry about them too

Don't get me wrong. They're a brilliant invention to assist automation and prevent screwdrivers from slipping off screw heads - damaging furniture, paintwork and fingers in the process. Interestingly they weren't invented by Mr Phillips at all, but by a John P Thompson who sold Mr P the idea after failing to commercialise it. Mr P, on the otherhand, quickly succeeded where Mr T had failed. Incredible isn't it. You don't just need a good idea, you need a great salesman and, more importantly, perfect timing to make a success out of something new. Actually, it would seem, he did two clever things (apart from buying the rights). He gave the invention to GM to trial. No-brainer #1. After it was adopted by the great GM, instead of trying to become their sole supplier of Phillips screws, he sold licenses to every other screw manufacturer in the world. A little of a lot is worth a great deal more than a lot of a little + vulnerability (watch out Apple!). My gromble is abo

Addictions. Porn, Drugs, Alcohol and Sex. Don't prevent it, make it safer.

In 1926 New York, during Prohibition, 1,200 people were poisoned by whiskey containing small quantities of wood alcohol (methanol). Around 400 died, the rest were blinded. The methanol they drank was in the moonshine they had bought illegally. In fact it had been added by law to industrial ethanol in order to make it undrinkable. Prohibition existed to protect everyone from the 'evils of the demon drink'. However, people still wanted to enjoy alcohol. So bootleggers bought cheap industrial alcohol and attempted to distill it to remove the impurities the state had added, but the process wasn't regulated. The state was inadvertently responsible for the suffering - although it was easy for them to blame the bootleggers and to justify escalating the war. This didn't stop the bootleggers. In fact it forced them to become more violent to protect their operations, and even less cautious about their production standards. Volumes of illicit alcohol, and therefore proportionat

The Secrets of Hacker Golf

Social media is awash with professional golfers selling video training courses to help you perfect your swing, gain 50 yards on your drive and cut your handicap. They might help a few desperate souls, but the rest of us hackers already know everything we need to complete a round of golf without worrying the handicap committee or appearing on a competition winner's list. What those pros don't realise is that for us hacking golfers who very occasionally hit shots that if you hadn't seen how they were hit, end up where the pros might have put them, we already know everything we need to know - and more. Unlike pros who know how to time the perfect swing in order to caress a ball 350 yards down the centre of a fairway, we hackers need to assemble a far wider set of skills and know-how to complete 18 holes, about which pros have no comprehension, need, or desire to learn. Here are some of them: Never select your shot until after you've hit it. A variation on this is to alway