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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Law is no longer Black and White, but infinite shades of Grey.

I heard a radio DJ talking on his show today with Suggs (of Madness) about motorbikes and scooters.
Suggs was saying he had an old scooter which was his pride and joy to drive. However, he was not driving it unless absolutely necessary as he had acquired 9 points on his licence in last month due a speed camera recently installed nearby. It seems he has been ticketed 3 times for speeding between 30 and 35mph in a 30mph zone.
Fair enough, he broke the law; children or old people could be knocked down and killed. He paid his penalty x 3.

In the news today, a police constable was cleared of speeding and dangerous driving. He decided to take a new unmarked police Vauxhall Vectra out for a "familiarisation" test.
When the vehicle was checked after his impromptu road-test, other officers were shocked to see the onboard video had clocked the police driver travelling at:
60+mph in a 30mph zone
120mph in a 60mph zone
159mph in a 70mph zone on the M54.

It's OK though because 1) he's a PC. 2) he's an advanced driver. 3) he's trained in the use of firearms.
This was his defence. Plus the fact he was "...was driving in accordance with his training, honing his skills while possible and testing the vehicle's capabilities so that if he was required on an urgent call he would be driving safely."
So, he was cleared of driving at speeds even Royal Soc. for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said were dangerous.
In fact, RoSPA said "...We don't believe 159mph can ever be justified on public roads. Even in emergencies we consider that driving at 100mph or more is too dangerous."

So, you and I can be charged and convicted for driving at 33 or 35mph in 30mph zone and a PC can exceed 60+ in a 30mph zone on a routine "road-test" and go on to achieve 159mph on the M54. Yet, he was cleared of speeding and dangerous driving.
What's your experience ?
...you can read more here if you doubt the facts.

I was once sandwiched at 90mph between a Series 7 and a big Citroen on the M6, looked in the rear view mirror and the Citroen had grown a blue light and transmogrified into a Jag. The 7 took off like a scalded something.

I asked the constable why he hadn't gone after the 7, which by now was doing Warp factor 9.

"Because we'd never have caught him, but we knew we'd get you"
Any defense is self defense! It’s the same old story, different strokes for different folks. Here is a site that, at least for you island residents, might bolster some confidence in fighting a system that is all about creating revenue. At least that what it’s all about here in Chicago! WARNING, if you click on this site, you “will” spend some time there as you dig and find out just were the police have located cameras in your neighborhood! Oh, good luck.
I thought the funny bit about the story was that the copper was caught by the speed cameras in the Vectra itself - which he had turned on.

I think the sad thing about this is that it encourages people who think they're an "advanced driver" to drive faster and faster.

Having witnessed an accident lat year when a 9-year-old girl was killed by a driver "only" doing 32mph in a 30mph limit, I am not in sympathy with anyone who thinks it's ever safe to drive faster than the speed limit.
Once... a friend and I were in a minor accident caused, in part, but a police car hurling through a red light at 900 mph (okay, not 900... but close) and someone else swerving into us to avoid the cruiser. We found out later it was an "officer down" situation. Okay, makes sense, small price to pay to allow another officer to respond and go to his fellow officer's aid right? WELL that was what we were TOLD when we filed the report but later that night on the news it was reported that actually... it was a motorcycle cop who was "new" to the motorcycle division and didn't have a "firm grip" on handling his new machine and accidently it got away from him WHILE STOPPED AT A RED LIGHT and the motorcycle fell over and the officer landed on his butt... jumped on his police radio with "officer down, officer down" in which 11 cruisers responded at top speed... causing or becoming involved in, not one, not two but THREE other accidents while responding.

oh... and Woja, in response to your post. While I understand your position. I'm sorry but she would have died even if the person was going the speed limit... I'm sure... 32mph, 2 mph additional speed, is not enough to significantly impair stopping ability or kill someone that would not have been killed at 30mph.
Mr.D: Where' s the justice, eh. But at least the PC was honest.

Alan: Thanks for the web-link. I'll check it out.

Woja: I inderstand your point of view.

Linny: a great story. Thanks.
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