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Should Defensive Driving Courses be Mandatory?

With traffic congestion an ever-present challenge, and the road toll increasing more than 7% in 2023, the debate surrounding defensive driving courses has gained momentum. While some argue that such courses infringe upon personal freedom, others contend that they are essential for creating a safer road environment. Let’s take a look at some of the potential benefits for making defensive driving courses mandatory for all motorists.

The Need for Defensive Driving Skills

Road accidents continue to be a leading cause of fatalities and injuries globally. Many of these incidents are preventable, often stemming from human error, recklessness, or a lack of awareness. Defensive driving courses equip drivers with the necessary skills to anticipate and respond to potential hazards, reducing the likelihood of accidents and promoting responsible driving behavior.

Increased Traffic Complexity

As urban areas expand and traffic congestion worsens, the complexity of driving conditions has escalated. Motorists are faced with a myriad of challenges, including distracted driving, road rage, and the integration of new tech. Defensive driving courses provide individuals with the tools to navigate these complexities safely, promoting a heightened sense of situational awareness on the road.

Insurance Benefits

Advocates for mandatory defensive driving courses often highlight the potential insurance benefits associated with completing such programs. Insurance providers frequently offer discounts to drivers who have undergone defensive driving training, recognising the reduced risk these individuals pose on the road. Mandatory courses could, therefore, serve as a financial incentive for motorists, encouraging them to enhance their driving skills for personal and societal benefits.

Legal Implications and Accountability

Opponents argue that mandating defensive driving courses infringes on personal freedom and individual rights. However, it can be argued that driving is a privilege, not a right, and as such, individuals should be held accountable for their actions on the road. Mandatory courses can serve as a reasonable measure to ensure that all drivers are adequately trained and aware of their responsibilities, contributing to a collective commitment to road safety.

Traffic Infringements

Studies have shown that individuals who undergo defensive driving courses are less likely to engage in risky behaviours and commit traffic infringements. Mandatory courses can act as a deterrent, reducing the incidence of speeding, reckless driving, and other hazardous activities on the road. This, in turn, contributes to overall traffic safety and the wellbeing of all road users.

While the debate on mandating defensive driving courses continues, the potential benefits of such a measure are undeniable. For starters, it would equip drivers with the skills to navigate increasingly complex road conditions, promote safer road behaviour, and reduce the likelihood of accidents. As society continues to evolve, prioritising road safety through education and accountability becomes paramount for building a safer, more responsible driving culture.