Tuesday, 3 January 2006

Speeding on Britain's Roads

Police in Bedfordshire have been clocking up their own offences for speeding. And the Beds force is the 2nd worse force in the country for being caught on camera.

According to The Highway Code in the UK, "You MUST NOT exceed the maximum speed limits for the road and for your vehicle (see the table below). Street lights usually mean that there is a 30 mph speed limit unless there are signs showing another limit."

So, why is it that when the speed limit is 30mph, that I get a trail of bumper to bumper cars in my rear view mirror, and yet the car nearest to me in front of me, gets further and further away from me? I make an assumption that the ones immediately behind me are cursing me. Well, tough. I didn't make the speed limit. I refer you to a higher authority.

Last summer I had some amusement. In a 30mph limit, the driver behind me was harassing me by driving too close, and a white van driver behind him was clearly harassing the driver behind me. A car ahead had pulled slightly out of a petrol station. I had no option but to stop to let him out. I stopped. The driver behind me stopped. And white van (man?) went into the back of the car. I saw it all in my rear view mirror. For most of the rest of my journey along that 30mph road I was not hotly being pursued by fustrated motorists.

And why is it that people in towns seem to think that just because they are on a dual carriageway, they are allowed to drive any faster than 30mph? Take A505 road through Luton town centre. Classic. Even speed camera signs have little effect. The Highway Code is quite clear. It states, "The 30 mph limit applies to all traffic on all roads in England and Wales (only Class C and unclassified roads in Scotland) with street lighting unless signs show otherwise)". So there you are. If there are no speed signs, the speed limit is thirty. Three zero. Nothing higher.

Now, let's look at motorways. A work colleague, who I would otherwise have thought to have high moral standards, told me "I never drive over 85 on the motorway". He quickly went down in my esteem. The highway code tells us that the maximum speed for Cars and motorcycles is 70mph. I have NEVER EVER made a journey on a motorway without being overtaken. I frequently cruise at 70mph. So, how come I am constantly being overtaken, no matter how short a journey I make on a motorway?

Now let's look at Cars towing caravans or trailers. On a motorway the speed limit for them is sixty. six zero. Now try telling me you have never seen a car towing a caravan doing more than 60. They are mostly hacking along at speeds well in excess of that.

I am not without serious accident. Almost stationery I had inexplicably not seen an oncoming vehicle, when I was turning right off a trunk road. For my sin I had to take a re-education course or face penalty points and a fine. Not once did the Advanced Driving Instructor, on the road with three of us sinners on board, admonish the other sinners for breaking the speed limit. One did 50 through a coned area with speed signs of 30, the other did 45 in a 30 limit. Not once did the Advanced Driving Instructor mention these offences to his pupils. And once, the Advanced Driving Instructor himself, entered into a 30mph zone at 50mph, and took several hundred yards to slow himself down to stop at a roundabout ahead. He boasted that he instructed police. It was left to me to bring the matter up afterwards.

It does not, therefore, surprise me to learn that police on duty were caught in speed traps in Bedfordshire 2,519 times in a year (Luton Herald&Post 29 Dec 2005).

What does apall me is that in 2004, according to the newspaper report, of 46 police officers and staff sent notices of intended prosecution, only nine resulted in punishment.
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