Sir, - I would like to reply to Ms. Shiela Beckett's assertion (letters, March 7th) of the comparative safety of women drivers, and her attack on Mr. Henderson, by using a quote from a recent Irish Times article (ironically, an article on how equality legislation could mean the end of lower priced insurance for women). This includes a quote from an insurance person: "Last month, one of the country's largest insurance providers, Hibernian, said that it had looked again at its statistics and would no longer systematically charge men more.

"Several interesting new trends emerged from Hibernian's research. For example, contrary to popular opinion, the group's research has clearly shown that in many cases male drivers are, in fact, no greater risk than their female counterparts."

This is rather a contradiction to Ms Beckett's dogmatic assertion that men are mare dangerous drivers than women. The entire article might even suggest, to a cynical reader, that the insurance companies' policy of charging men more was simply a case of them taking advantage of a commonly held prejudice - and that the possibility of legislation forcing them to prove the reality of the prejudice has resulted in the sudden appearance of "new research".

I'd like to suggest that bad drivers are bad drivers - whether men shaving, women goo-gooing, hormone-soaked or baby-addled - and that there is no more to be said. Aggressive drivers, distracted drivers, or just plain stupid drivers should all be taken aside and firmly chastised.

Men cannot be damned for being men, without allowing the possibility of women being damned for being women. Dawn that road lies dangerous driving far us all. - Yours, etc,

2587 EC Dan Haag,

The Netherlands.