I think North American driver training is pretty lax and easy, in general. In B.C., I feel that’s definitely the case. It sounds good and all to say that we will create a graduated licensing system to help improve new drivers. However, has that really been the case?
We had a friend visit from Germany and she was telling us how she was preparing to take her driving lessons at age 18. She said that it was a couple thousand Euros and that she had to go through a long training course. I was quite impressed. Our measley minimum of 10 hours with whoever puts us to shame.
Germany is the third largest producer of automobiles in the world (exceeded only by Japan and the United States) and a country that takes its driving very seriously. This is understandable when you realize that a German driver’s license costs about $1500-2000, after a minimum of 25-45 hours of professional instruction plus 12 hours of theory, and such a license is good for life.
Boy, do I like the sounds of that. I don’t mind paying more for my license if I am going to be a better driver. And I would feel a lot better if I knew all the drivers in Vancouver had the same kind of training. Right now, training is at best spotty. Certain parts of town are down right infuriating to drive in. I try to avoid particular shopping mall parking lots on the weekend. Thank God for the Canada Line next year!
The Technische Überwachungsverein or TÜV is an agency that must approve the roadworthiness of German cars and trucks. Without a TÜV (pronounced TOOF) sticker, a vehicle can’t be licensed or driven. Cars have been known to fail TÜV inspection for having a single rust spot or dent in a critical location. A broken light or a malfunctioning exhaust system would be obvious reasons for rejection. A popular bumper sticker seen on older German vehicles likely to run afoul of TÜV reads, “Bis daß der TÜV uns scheidet.” (“Till TÜV us do part.”)…
I never thought AirCare was enough to keep cars in good working order. I’ve been behind dozens of vehicles with one working light. If it’s one of those cars that don’t have a separate amber turning light, then I can’t tell if they are only braking or if they are signalling to turn. Bring the TÜV to BC!
And in this city nowadays, we’re lucky if people signal when they turn right. It’s like they think I can read their mind as a driver or pedestrian. I’ll leave that rant for a different day.