Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Traffic Offenders Part 1

Almost the only time that a magistrate will see a middle-class person of good character before him is in a traffic court. Of course there are a few white-collar frauds, and even the occasional murder, but usually it's traffic.

The Drink-drive laws have been in force for so long that all of the old loopholes, real or imagined, have been plugged, and not even the most hardened drink drivers would try to justify their activities. They might think (and they might have a point) that they have reached the stage where their experience keeps them out of trouble after a few pints, but you won't hear them admitting this in public.

But speeding is different. Speed limits have been regarded as flexible for so many years that otherwise law-abiding people are truly indignant that they have been given a ticket for doing 38 in a 30, or even 102 in a 70. Every sophistry is deployed, every loophole sought out, and the press enlisted in aid. It's all about raising cash of course (it isn't) and the police should be out there catching real criminals.

Speed control really is about keeping people alive ( we still kill ten people every day on the road) and successive governments have agreed to a target of reducing traffic speeds over time. It will come, but there are still some slow learners out there.

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