Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Burgess Hill
Vehicle: R170 320 previously R171 350 and CLK
Other Toys: 4 grandchildren
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Thanked 33 Times in 17 Posts
Attitudes to speeding have changed. I came away from Silverstone motor racing circuit in my V8 TVR after a Le Mans Endurance Race. The same as everyone else that day, I had a little dream of driving a GT car, or even a prototype, when making my way home.
I came onto the M40. The slip road is a tight left-hander and any driver (even the odd psychopath who was so selfish as to push it a little) would look to their right to check for traffic so as to merge in without inconveniencing anyone. There was a large box van coming along fairly slowly and as the driver flashed the headlights I thought it would be rude not to pull in front of him. So I accelerated under the flyover only to be flashed by a hidden speed camera. It was a 40mph limit and not the normal 70mph.
I turned off at the next junction, drove back and went along the slip road again, this time a bit slower. The sign was placed well round the bend, so if you were looking at traffic on the motorway you'd miss it. And I had.
I got the dreaded letter demanding that I said who was driving. As an ex police officer I'd caused a number to be sent. In my reply I pointed out that the speed limit signs placement did not conform to the recommendations and there were two other factors that I brought up as well. There was a fourth, but I kept that one back, just in case it went to court.
That was the last I heard of it.
At a dinner party I was asked the procedure for a speeding offence by a woman who'd been flashed at - no raincoats - and I rattled it off. I was asked if I had ever been flashed and I told them of the incident.
I received the biggest telling off since I put chalk dust over Janet Board's hair when at primary school. There were only two blokes who'd talk to me for the balance of the evening. It seems I was a pariah.
My wife was asked by a female guest if I 'always drove at silly speeds'. She pointed out that I was only going at 67mph according to the speed camera, under the normal speed limit, but this didn't seem to matter.
I was told that there was one law for 'you' and one law for them. I pointed out that I wasn't a 'you' as I'd retired.
I was going at 67 on a 70mph motorway, the speed limit reduced for road works which were not operating that day and the road was open on all three lanes. But I was worse than Dr Shipman.
In 30 years as a police officer, a bit over half on operational work, I'd never reported an RTA where driving over the speed limit was the cause I nominated. Going at inappropriate speed yes, but not merely speeding. The difference is fundamental.
I was told when I joined, back in the middle 70s, by my inspector that I needed three things for him to nod through a prosecution:
1/ an offence,
2/ an offender, and
3/ a reason for prosecuting.
Gold. I'm glad I had the sense to follow it.
I could go on all day about it, and have a bit. Here's a bit more:
I've been in magistrates' court with a prisoner for an assault on kid half the offender's weight. He'd hit him in the stomach so there would be no bruises to photograph, but the victim had had trouble breathing for some minutes. An off duty nurse helped him - she was gorgeous, a real stunner, so I'm pleased to have remembered the incident. He was fined the equivalent nowadays to around £40. A chap who'd been caught speeding for the second time got three times the fine and points on his licence. Bewildering.
She had a brilliant smile, one that lit up her face, and the faces of any bloke nearby. I had to sit opposite her when I took the statement. She even smelt lovely.
Off for a cold shower now.