Today’s Editorial January 08: Mandatory driver education welcomed

A plan to make driver’s education mandatory for students in Cayman Islands’ public schools has been placed on the table.

We think it’s a wonderful idea and can’t wait to see it enacted.

The logistics still have to be ironed out and Government will have to find a way to pay for the programme, but it’s an idea whose time has come.

Let’s face it, driving can be dangerous at any age; especially in the Cayman Islands and on Grand Cayman in particular.

It is far more likely to be deadly for young people getting behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle and that’s why mandatory driver’s education is so necessary.

Just recently, right before Christmas, we saw two teens lose their lives in an automobile accident.

A few days later a 21-year-old met the same fate when he died behind the wheel of his vehicle.

We have talked and talked about the need to get young people to slow down and act responsibly on our roads.

So we have to start training our youths early.

Teens are easily distracted and most think they are indestructible. Even mature teens don’t have enough time behind the wheel to realize just how quickly a driver can get into trouble.

By having mandatory driver education in high school we will be arming our young people with the knowledge and experience of how to stay away from and get out of harmful driving situations.

We would hope that Government would take the mandatory classes one step further.

As the programme will cost the Education Department, we suggest that classes be offered on days when school is not in session to new, long-term residents to the Cayman Islands.

Government could require the classes of all new drivers, regardless of their home country, and charge a fee to offset the costs.

Many people who arrive here bring with them bad driving habits.

It is up to us as a country to not accept or encourage those bad habits, but to teach new drivers the way things should be done here.

We would also hope the insurance companies step up to the plate and offer special rates to drivers who have successfully completed driver education.

It’s done in many other jurisdictions as an incentive to do well in the classes and certainly could be done here.

It’s not just an incentive for teens, but also for their parents or guardians who are probably footing the insurance bill.

There is much we can do to make the roadways of the Cayman Islands safer for all.

Making driver education mandatory is a great start.