Canada’s Worst Driver Falls From Grace

So, today I was watching Canada’s Worst Driver 4. But, this season I’ve found it increasingly irritating as they have become more activist. Before, it was educational, but still funny. Now, they’ve gotten rid of some of the hosts sarcastic comedy and increased his teaching. This has thrown the show off balance, IMO, in this regard. They’ve also, in every episode, condemned in various ways, young drivers. Today was the worst. Quite frankly, I think that the usage of the shows location came with some strings attached.

Driving while doing “stuff”

This is known to be a problem. I’m not going to argue the generality of this statement. But, there is, arguably, at least one thing that doesn’t belong here. That being smoking.

This is because, to a smoker, smoking is “second nature” (btw, I’m a former smoker). So, smoking while driving is done without thought. There really isn’t any looking away to do anything as the movements and where things are known subconsciously. So, smoking while driving isn’t necessarily the pitfall that the show makes it out to be.

There is a little addendum to that though. The above assumes that one doesn’t do anything as stupid as lighting up, or putting one out, while actually driving. Luckily, there are stop lights and traffic jams where these things can be done safely.

One could make the argument that if one looks down for a split second things can go awry. Well, how is that different from looking away for any other number of reasons? Because, if we’re all honest, we know that this happens regularly while just driving and not smoking. People are distracted for no reason all the time. So, practically speaking, there is no difference. As in, it isn’t reasonable/practical to require/expect people to pay attention to driving 100% of the time while driving.

This brings us to the problem with how this “driving distracted” problem was done on the show. It was very dishonest.

What they did was drive around in a tight lane, in a figure eight. Then they had to reach in there purse, backpack or glove box and try to to “stuff”. Some of this was putting on lipstick, drinking and smoking. Well, in all my years, I don’t know one person that would have done this while driving in the conditions that these people were under. Perhaps functionally retarded people might, but I call bullshit on normal people doing it.

I’ll also point out that unlike this “course”, Canadian roads are far from that curvy. In fact, most are rather straight. Just thought I’d point that out.

Down on teenagers

First off, I’m going to point out that the teenager on the show is being made out to be the “poster child” for the reason why governments are creating new laws restricting teenagers ability to drive. This is pure nonsense. This teenager has nowhere near the ability of the “average” teen out there. Hell, when I recall what I did when I first got my license, I definitely did some stupid stuff (while other cars were not around). That was/is pretty common. But, most of the time, I was a good driver and so was everyone that I drove with (save 1). If this weren’t the case, we’d have a hell of a lot more problems than we do now. Age is not such a significant factor as it’s made out to be.

On the distraction front, one of the judges said (paraphrase), “It has been statistically proven that with each teen aged passenger you add to the car with a teen aged driver, the chance of getting in an accident goes up 100%.” I actually laughed out loud when he said this. Let’s go over why.

I’ll point out first, that one cannot prove anything with statistics. One can show what is likely or unlikely to happen, “probabilities” if you will, but not proof. This is chances. Think of it like this, when you roll a 6 sided die, your chances of getting any one number is 1/6. But, do you actually get those numbers in those ratios? No. Well, over time if you keep rolling and rolling and rolling and… you will. But, not practically speaking. There will be long runs where one number doesn’t show up at all, etc, etc, etc. That is the nature of statistics. Mix that with the fact that as people drive more, there skill increases and as such, there chances of getting into an accident decreases, and the above statement makes less and less sense.

Now I will point out that they are saying that this is justification for new laws that different Provinces are trying to pass (probably one of the strings I mentioned). The one that they are alluding to is that teenagers (or new drivers – but that doesn’t really matter for the purposes here) will not be able to have passenger (or limits increasing over time) up to a certain age. This does nothing to improve the situation overall. How is the person supposed to get used to driving with people if they aren’t exposed to that situation? Point of fact, lifting this ability will increase the distraction and thus create a distracted driver each time it is lifted. I’ll point out that if it goes by one person more allowed in the car at each time, then we actually create more chances for problems and thus defeat the entire supposedly purpose of this new law.

But, how is age even a factor here? I’m serious! When one is learning something new, such as driving, they’ll need to pay closer attention to what they are doing at first. But, the Ontario law (as I recall) lifts this restriction at 21 (as I recall). So, implicitly, if someone just gets there license at, say, 30, then this restriction will never be in effect. This kind of defeats the purpose of the law and makes it look rather discriminatory towards the younger ones. If someone was to propose something like this, then wouldn’t it make sense to base it on skill instead of discriminating on age? Because, the way the referenced law is structure, it doesn’t do much to fix anything. In fact, as shown above, there’s a chance it’ll make things worse. Not that this has stop politicians before. Better to do something and look good rather than do something smart.

It’s just his age.

This one really got me. It was explicitly stated (by the host) that this teenagers driving is due solely (or primarily) because of his age. This is absolutely laughable. Again, if this were true, we’d be an a lot more trouble then we already are in.

I will also point out at this time, that teenagers aren’t really a terrible threat. As in, practically looking at things, how far do teenagers actually drive? I know when I was young (and all of the people that I knew), I didn’t drive far at all. In fact, it was rare the I left my “neck of the woods” at all. So, I was usually on residential roads i.e. low speeds. Can anyone say that they know of large groups of teenagers going on regular trips on highways? I think not.

I really think that teenagers get a bum rap because of a select few. Not exactly uncommon in our society. But, let’s not let that fact get in the way of the prevailing “wisdom.”

Are teenagers the only ones?

Teenagers are also not the only ones out there causing problems. They are just the ones that catch the most flack because politicians know that they can’t/won’t put up a successful fight against new discriminatory legislation. The elderly are just as bad if not worse.

I say this because incidents of drunk driving are much higher among the elderly. They are also less likely to wear there seatbelt, be current with traffic laws, have bad reflexes, etc, etc, etc. Not to mention that they are regularly not in the accidents that they cause. All this, but there was one mention of the elderly on the show. That mention being that the elderly have to go in at 80 for a “knowledge assessment.” The judges said that this wasn’t enough and left it at that.

One could make the argument that they actually kicked the elderly woman off the show and it looks like she’s going to loose her license. Well, that is but only one elderly person and they aren’t making constant generalisations about the elderly. The elderly are getting let off scot free on this show.

I could go on, but I’m tired and don’t care that much. But, all in all, I see this show as being a significant platform for justification of the Ontario government’s new plans. And I find that sad.

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One Response to “Canada’s Worst Driver Falls From Grace”

  1. Democratic America, Goverment and Election » Canada’s Worst Driver Falls From Grace Says:

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