Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Madame, please produce your license

Are Asian born people in Australia bad car drivers? It is a stereotypical view but most stereotypes happen for good reasons.

I find many Asian drivers to be overly cautious, hesitant, slow to react, inclined to stay a lot below the speed limit and at times generally puzzling in their road behaviour. Does that make them bad drivers? No, it only cites them as cautious and careful and I suspect the crash stats of the aforesaid are below average. Some may say in the manner of Mr Magoo, they might leave a trail of destruction behind them, caused by frustration.

Tradie Brother recently ran into the back of a Chinese born driver. He said she slammed her brakes on in the middle of an intersection because she thought it looked like someone was going to turn in front of her. Tradie Brother saw enough to say that the other driver was trying to bluff his way around the corner. He readily admitted guilt, bent her car's rear mudguard off her tyre and both were on their way. Insurance paid. All very amicable.

Tradie Brother is not an aggressive driver and nor is ABI Brother. Sister and myself are the aggressive drivers in our family, me mostly when I am on the way home from work. That I can't buy a Kalashnikov  in Australia has saved many lives. I can tolerate bad driving. It is the stupid driving that gets under my skin. Mostly I am fairly relaxed. I make sure I leave plenty of time so that I am not in a rush and can tolerate fools who drive at 40km/h in a 70 zone. Though I do rather tire of having to toot the horn to alert the driver in front that the light has turned green, unnoticed by them because they are doing something with their phone. That is when a need the Kalashnikov.

I am acquainted with a person who sells new European cars in an area growing with wealthy Asian born, mostly Chinese mainlanders. One such good customer brought her ever so expensive car in for servicing and asked the person of my acquaintance to reverse park her car into an available space. He obliged and the car had all the bells and whistles, reversing cameras, audible signals for close proximity and front sensors.  Madame, he asked, why do you find reverse parking so difficult? She replied, I have never reverse parked. He asked, but what about for your driving license test?

And here is the the crunch. Although she is an Australian resident and has been for some time, she doesn't have an Australian driving licence. She uses an international driving licence, which I understand are only valid for three months in Australia, and then you have to sit a driving license test.

While there is corruption in Australia, it is ever so much worse in other countries and China is a shining beacon. The said lady orders her successive  international driving licences from China, always dated appropriately so that she never has to sit an Australian driving licence test. She pays to circumvent our law and it is very wrong that money can buy a person a position above the law.

In contrast  a few years ago, an Asian student friend was so very proud of getting his Victorian driving license. He left Australia, back to Singapore, soon after and I can't see him needing his Victorian driving license in the future.

Clearly I am becoming a grumpy old man, if I am not already, but I just don't like our laws to be so laxly enforced. By golly, if I had a little bit of power, I'd be a little dictator, I would.

23 comments:

  1. I am definitely on the grumpy side as well. And suspect I would out dictate you. A shameful admission. It is probably just as well I am powerless.

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    1. EC, I agree. It is probably a good thing that we are powerless.

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  2. And here I wanted to be a stockcar driver when I was younger...

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    1. Jac, thank goodness you didn't, that being no reflection on your driving.

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  3. You want to get even more grumpy? Years ago, before my first marriage, I knew a couple of Asians and they regularly sat driving licence tests in different names to get learner's permits for their many family members. When it came to the actual driving test, the family members sometimes took their own test, or if they weren't yet good enough drivers, the ones who had sat for the learner's permit would take the driving test.
    Then there was the other family. One licence, haneded around and used by whoever was driving the car.

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    1. River, that is so interesting and also so wrong. Our country and its systems must be a laugh to them.

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  4. I am an ultra cautious, very slow driver who probably drives other drivers to distraction. If a tram is leaving the City, I wait patiently at St Kilda Junction in case I have to give way *sigh*

    Apologies!

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    1. Hels, I am pleased you are considerate of trams, which may contain anything up to a couple of hundred people nowadays. So many aren't and at St Kilda Junction at times sit on the tram tracks when there is a bank up of traffic lined up to turn into Dandenong Road from St Kilda Road, St Kilda.

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  5. I have entertained different and not necessarily consistent theories about Chinese drivers. One is that they are cautious because they have learnt to drive later in life. Another is that they have grown up in a different kind of traffic. Another is that many Chinese are intensely frugal (that is, when not engaged in crazed gambling or conspicuous consumption to maintain face: see I told you there is a consistency problem here) so maybe a slow and steady approach is also adopted from a fuel consumption point of view, especially in the big vehicles that any self-respecting prosperous Chinese person would prefer.

    So many theories here.

    As for the woman on the successive international driver's permit: that will only survive a cursory consideration such as if she were pulled over by police or had a minor accident. She could find her insurance voided on the basis that she was unlicensed if something more serious arose.

    Mind you, there are plenty of people who cheerfully drive on overseas licences. In my experience, UK drivers quite commonly assume their licences here will be fine, and don't even bother with the international permit thing (which merely authenticates your actual licence).

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    1. Marcellous, your point about UK drivers is probably quite valid. Yes, if the woman was pulled over and her details entered into the system, if she was pulled over again more than three months later and her details checked, she may well fall foul. But how many middle class, middle aged Asian women are pulled over for other than a random BAC test. While I have visited several Asian countries, the best comparison I could come up with was Malaysia where I quickly noticed, that is the way the stereotypical Asian driver in Melbourne drives. A Chinese/Thai workmate told me many Asian drivers are terrified being caught by the police for speeding, and so sit well below the speed limit. I am not so sure about that one.

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    2. I wonder if they know they can be pulled over for driving too slow? If they are holding up traffic by crawling along. Especially if they are in the wrong lane on a freeway. I saw a man get pulled over by a motorcycle cop for driving too slow in the right hand lane on our freeway years ago. Traffic was banking up behind him.

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    3. River, we have the laws, but I doubt they are ever enforced, so it must be time for the government to announce a new law to replace the previous same law that is never enforced.

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  6. Can't compare driving here to where you are, it's totally different to a degree.
    Asian drivers are ok here, but I have seen several just pull up in the middle of the highway/road and get out their map. Not good but to them it's necessary.

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    1. Margaret, I quite happily make exceptions for tourists. I am one at times.

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  7. I like to go fast but I don't because I can't afford a ticket and fortunately, have never had one. Came close a couple times. Once, this ex judge asked me to house sit but my car was broken down. So he handed me the keys to his CORVETTE! Did I take it out and open it up, over on the miles of remote straight on Seven Mile Ln? Did I take it beyond 100? Yes! Not sorry either. Knew I'd never have another chance in my life to drive a car like that or go that fast.

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    1. That is terribly irresponsible Strayer. What if a kiddie stepped out onto the road? I only got my old car to 96 mph and the valves started to bounce. Like you, it was a quite road.

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    2. Yes it was, but no kids on that road, just a couple farms, down long driveways. You have five miles of sheer nothingl then a hairpin curve.

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  8. I share your grumpiness and frustration. In another life, Clive would be an immigration officer. That would fix our problem of above forecast arrivals as I'm pretty sure that nobody would get in on most days. For the most part, I find driving here courteous and well mannered. The further north you go, the less traffic there is and the better the experience.

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    1. Craig, a laugh at that. We are all little dictators at heart. Traffic congestion here is almost as bad as I have seen anywhere in the world and people get so frustrated, myself included.

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  9. UGH, I was behind one of these drivers not half an hour ago. Stopped unnecessarily at roundabouts with NO traffic in sight. Slower than slow turning corners. So ridiculous, it made me want to tail gate them!!

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    1. Fen, I know exactly what you are describing, and when you unnecessarily miss a set of lights for that slowness reason, doesn't steam come out of your ears.

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  10. Nice word, 'frustration'; it means you have difficulty controlling your emotions, not a good characteristic in a multi-sharing environment such as driving. Before criticising others look carefully at your driving habits and try to see what you might be doing that would 'frustrate' other drivers. In a perfect world we would all keep left except when necessary, drive at a speed commensurate with the traffic, road and weather conditions, and so on. Too many people think (and I deliberately omit the 'seem to') that their needs, their priorities, their schedules are paramount in a situation where everyone else has the same needs, priorities and schedules. Relax. Learn to be, and be, patient - one day you may be the problem, if you're not already.

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    1. Quite the opposite Chris. As in real life, my emotions are very well controlled as anyone who knows me will tell you. After 40 years of almost daily driving I haven't had an accident, never received a fine aside from three parking tickets when I first got my licence, never been involved in an on road incident. I have reasonable self awareness of my own driving and I recognise that even at my not particularly advanced years, my skills are not what they used to be and hence I am more cautious than I used to be. I consider I am no more than a competent driver, deserving of a driving license. Many are not. Once retired, I hope I never have to drive again, certainly not daily driving.

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