Penalty ‘Fixed’

I forward this email to you in total frustration at the way that the traffic police and their partners manage their dealings with the tax paying public. I have only ever had four speeding endorsements in over 40 years driving, and three of those have been 'earned' in Scotland. I drive upwards of 30,000 miles a year, I run a small company, and I spend about five percent of my working time in Scotland. On each occasion when I have been caught speeding I have been on open stretches of motorway either during, or at the end of the day - not during rush hours, not in poor weather, and not when in built up areas. In each occasion I was exceeding the speed limit by 10% of the limit in force. On one occasion I was returning on the M74 near Beattock Summit on a warm and fine April evening. The camera (as on the two other occasions) was fixed in a van on a bridge at the apex of a sweeping bend. There were eight other cars within my vision, and every single one would have been caught. The second occasion was heading east on the M876 near Falkirk in the middle of the morning on what must be the most underused stretch of motorway on the UK. Again, camera in van, on bridge etc., etc. My most recent offence occurred heading north on the M74 near Hamilton, and at 12.30 pm. Again, another six or seven drivers caught doing 75mph or so on a wide open road with the camera obscured on a rising bend on a bridge. OK - I'm guilty as charged, and I can afford £60, but the whole operation seems designed to skim money from the motorist, and has little to do with road safety.

The bigger problem is this - there is clearly now no place for 'common sense' policing, and, as a result, we don't much like the police any more. I, and all of us, see the police regularly using mobile phones while driving, parking illegally and generally giving a 'can't be bothered' impression to the people that pay their wages, and it's totally their fault. Policing in the UK is now politicised, and the support of the public must be at an all time low. I sent the cheque and paper licence of on 21st December, but forgot to enclose the plastic copy. (As an aside, what is the point - the plastic licence is not chipped, so is useless for containing anything other than the original information). The expiry date for the offence was January 2nd. The licensing people stamped the letter 'received 30th December' although they must have had it delivered to their office well before then, so I was always going to be out of time. Subsequently. I received a letter dated January 6th on the 14th January informing me that my case has been passed forward for prosecution. Unbelievable. In the back of my mind sits a very uneasy thought. The Scottish economic model is unsustainable in its present form - free university education, free care of the elderly and so on. It couldn't be that a few thousand £60 a week from unsuspecting motorists could help bridge that gap could it?

Asked on 27 March 2010 by P.G., Wilmslow

Answered by Honest John
Actually, Scotland is run by special additional government funding that pays for about 60% of the working population to be employed by the state (50% average for the whole of the UK). Part of Gordon Brown’s economic miracle. If the country elected me, then one of the first things The Motor Party would do in Government (after declaring a State of Emergency) would be to raise the standard speeding fine to £150, but impose no points. Then, instead of inefficient hypocrisy, we would have an honest system where those who needed to go faster could pay for it and the income from fines would go a lot further towards repaying the colossal debt Gordon Brown got us into, not to mention the fact we are all around 40% poorer in World terms due to the devaluation of Sterling, which no one seems to mention, but which is now feeding through to inflation that could rise to 20% this year. It has for car prices.
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