Losing the will to drive



A remarkable societal transformation is taking place as young people thumb their noses at getting a driving licence.Crazy driver - Cayusa

In decades past, having a motor vehicle licence was a highly-coveted status symbol signifying one had come of age.

So much so that anyone who did not sit their learner’s test within weeks of their 18th birthday (Australian conditions, folks) were regarded with extreme scepticism.

Like: what’s the matter with you? The implication was: Are you a real human being?

Nowadays, there are many young people who do get a licence – just to prove their age. But they then don’t bother to actually drive.

It appears to be largely a symptom of the trend to inner-city and inner-suburban apartment living. Which makes sense – mostly.

But public transport – no matter where in the world you may live – is very rarely a wondrous experience and can never offer the convenience and freedom provided by the ready availability of your own vehicle.

Most intriguing is the rejection of the freedom that a licence offers.

Assuming one has a vehicle, whether two or four-wheel, that goes reliably and you can afford to appease the gas-guzzling engine, driving offers the ability to go almost anywhere you like (okay, within reason!).

And you can do it by yourself – with no-one to intrude on you, apart from other road users. You can blast your head apart with whatever musical accompaniment turns you on and experience the bliss of being in control of your own destiny.

What strikes me as most weird about this syndrome of not wanting to drive is that we will not enjoy the freedom to drive as we do now for all that much longer.

The ‘powers-that-be’ recognise the cost of idiot drivers that require over-engineered roads and highways to protect them from themselves and the monstrous cost of death and injuries accruing to human error.

They will utilise technology at the earliest possible moment to eliminate human frailty from the driving experience. We can already see the near future with cars that have the technology to self-park. Look, mum, no hands!

And sensors that take control to prevent low-level nose-to-tail bingles.

One can understand young people eyeing-off road ragers and sensibly deciding they want nothing to do with such idiots.

But still the question remains: what has replaced that sensual, almost erotic feeling of hedonism that us old farts used to get from sliding behind the steering wheel and revving the motor before easing onto the roadway and going where we liked?

Mediated experience through any number of TV, PC or smartphone screens just ain’t the bloody same, guys. Get your shit together and take advantage of this freedom while we still have it. It won’t last for much longer.