Unintended consequences


Over on Emergent Chaos, there’s a post on the unintended consequences of doling out driving privileges to young drivers in stages.

Interestingly the study is circa 2011 but I’ve seen no reflection in Australia on the uncomfortable fact that the study found, i.e that all we are doing with such schemes is shifting the death rate to an older cohort. Of course all the adults can sit back and congratulate themselves on a job well done, except it simply doesn’t work, and worse yet sucks resources and attention away from searching for more effective remedies.

In essence we’ve done nothing as a society to address teenage driving related deaths, safety theatre of the worst sort…

3 responses to Unintended consequences

    Mike Flannery 21/11/2013 at 12:36 am

    Risk homeostasis at play. If we track it long enough we’ll probably see a return to the position that was present before the interventions. The real question is how do you stop the young being…well, young?


      Matthew Squair 21/11/2013 at 7:11 am

      The study results are very interesting, and to my mind the authors didn’t address the most interesting question which is, if the graduated license system is intended to have a persistent training effect why is there a rebound in the older cohorts age group? That seems to me to be a large methodological hole in this approach.


        Mike Flannery 21/11/2013 at 8:01 am

        Perhaps they identified that there were too many variables in the raw data to allow them to identify a trend with any degree of certainty. In one sense this does rather pour cold water on the idea that any risk management intervention will produce any long-term improvement. Ed Borodzicz of University of Portsmouth indicated as much in his book on risk and security management. Is the report then a counsel of despair? Or perhaps they’re leaving that part of it for the Doctorate 🙂