Saturday, 8 March 2008

Police go after bad drivers again

On the second of November last year I had flagged up that Devon and Cornwall Police were targeting really bad drivers on our major roads using unmarked vehicles. This operation was going to be initially just for that month. It turned out to be a such a highly successful exercise that the police are doing the same this month. It also seems that people who have been caught on camera marginally exceeding the speed limit might well get a warning letter for the first 'offence' rather than a fine and points on their licence.

I don't have any personal axe to grind on this subject: I've never fallen foul of speed cameras although undoubtedly crept over the limit for a brief moment. It's always been the case with me that I am passionate about fairness and never more so than in the manner of punishment for driving offences. You hear of instances of people getting points for minor infringements of the speed limit whilst other downright reckless drivers get away with almost literally murder. So what is happening in my two counties now seems to be trying to get a much better balance, and not before time.

Some would say that if you observe all the speed limits then the static cameras won't catch you out. Point taken. One of the things I dislike about speed limits though is that generally they don't discriminate between differing circumstances. You might be in a 30 mph limit when it is perfectly OK to do 40 whilst on another occasion on the same road anything over 15 mph would be reckless. A good idea is speed limit signs around schools which flash at you when children are coming and going. Another point is that a driver who keeps checking his or her speedometer is averting their eyes from the road. Personally I try and get myself trained to the feel of the car when I'm doing 30 or 40 mph for instance and it's surprising how well you can get to judge speed. Having said that I'm surprised that nobody has invented a gizmo in which you can set a certain speed, say 30 mph. Flick a switch to make it live. Then if you go over that speed it flashes a light at you or emits a discreet 'beep'. But I've forgotten - I don't play music in my car, lots play their idea of music very loud and there's no way they would hear an audible warning!

Getting back to my main point, it's good to see the police going after the people who really are a danger on the road. Progress indeed.

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