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Driving In The Middle Lane? Face a £60 Fine!
The war against the motorist continues! How worrying is it that government statistics show record numbers of people receiving cautions for serious criminal offences and yet the police have just received new powers in the fight to make the world a safer place by being able to issue on the spot fines for motorists hogging the middle lane.
Did somone really spend time wondering how the policing of our great nation could be improved and come up with this?
Whilst we all get irritated by middle lane hoggers, the problem will become one of definition. At what point are you hogging the middle lane? After all, The Highway Code advises that motorists should not change lanes unnecessarily. The decision will become that of the police officer exclusively. Their evidence will not require corroboration by anybody else or for example a speed recording device. The undoubted consequence of this developement is that the number of motorists receiving penalty points for "careless driving" will massively increase.
I have recently seen an increase in motorists obsessively lurching into the inside lane of the motorway, almost inevitably then undertaking a driver in the middle lane. I am to be convinced that this improves motorway safety. It will however markedly increase Government revenue from the motorist. Surely that couldnt have been the motivation behind this increase in police powers...
Analysis: Is There Proof Speed Cameras Reduce Speeding?
It is regularly said by the powers that be, that the presence of speed cameras on our roads improves road safety by reducing traffic speed.
However, a careful examination of the facts does not support this. The most profitable speed camera has been identified as an average speed check on the M60 at Stockport, Greater Manchester. This system has been there for years. One would expect therefore, that traffic moving along that stretch of motorway would be moving at 50mph. Not so. Recent police figures show that in the last 3 years it has generated £1.9 million through motorists being fined.
Given that fixed penalty speeding tickets are £60 a time it is not hard to work out that despite the presence of these speed cameras, a huge volume of motorists have broken the speed limit. Clearly they don't work. They do however generate further government revenue out of the motorist. I remain to be convinced that money is not taking priority over issues of safety.
Our Criminal Courts Are Empty, But Our Traffic Courts Are Full
As regular followers of my blog will be aware I genuinely believe that the forces of Law and Order devote far more time to prosecuting the motorist than they do chasing serioius criminals.
Most Prosecutions are for Low Level Offences
Whilst one must accept the need to police our highways in order to ensure that they run smoothly and stay safe, the reality is that most motoring prosecutions are for low level speeding offences. In Cumbria, the traffic police will issue you with a ticket for driving at 77mph on the motorway. There can be no real argument that this has anything to do with road safety. In my experience speeding cases are always prosecuted by the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
Attitude of Prosecution Lawyers
What's even more amazing is the attitude of Prosecution lawyers in these cases. They devote huge amounts of their time and energy trying to obtain a conviction in a low level speeding case, yet for thousands of offences involving violence they authorise the Police to administer a caution.
Some may say this is not true. But believe me it is. Take a look in any of the Magistrate Courts up and down the land. The Criminal Courts are deserted. Which one is always full to bursting?...The Traffic Court.
If you require assistance after receiving a speeding penalty please contact us on 0800 195 6567 or send an email to email@example.com
What Is The Definition of a Motor Vehicle?
I think this is the first time in my 24 year career that I have disagreed with a magistrates court that found in favour of the motorist.
A few weeks ago a chap appeared before the Bury St. Edmunds Magistrates Court. He was charged with driving whilst disqualified. He had previously been disqualified for driving with excess alcohol. Being a particularly resourceful gentleman he decided as he couldnt drive a motor car he would transport himself by way of a motorised skateboard. The police saw him, arrested him and prosecuted him for driving a motor vehicle whilst disqualified.
The chap pleaded not guilty upon the basis that the skateboard was not a motor vehicle. Having considered all the evidence, the magistrates found him not guilty. They felt a reasonable person would not think it was a motor vehicle.
Please note that decision was wrong! Please do not follow it.
In any other court, on any other day this would have been a guilty verdict. The skateboard was powered by an engine and specific case law on virtually the exact same thing confirms that it is a motor vehicle, so I advise you, do not drive one if you are disqualified, drunk, etc, etc. I suspect that the Crown Prosecution Service will appeal the decision and it will be overturned.
What New Laws Could Reduce Cyclist/Motorist Accidents?
I have spent the last 24 years defending a whole range of people facing criminal prosecution for virtually every known offence. One area that still never fails to touch me is a fatal accident involving a motorist and a cylist/pedestrian or any other road user. In my opinion criminal law has lost sight of the fact that in the majority of these cases are ACCIDENTS.
These cases almost always involve a perfectly normal, respectable person driving to work and colliding with another on foot or bike doing the exact same thing. The fact is that human beings are fallible, we all make mistakes and people caught up in fatal road collisions never mean to hurt anyone.
In an instant, people's lives are changed and sometimes destroyed.
New Plans To Reduce Accidents
The key to reducing these fatal accidents is the education of all road users. New plans to be implemented will soon make it obligatory for trucks to have a mirror fitted to the nearside to enable the driver to see a cyclist between the truck and the pavement. Failure to have one will result in a fine. Lets go one step further. Why not impose an on the spot fine for cyclists who ride on the inside of a truck when it is indicating to turn right? The combination of both of these would reduce road deaths.
Add to that the compulsory wearing of high visibility clothing for all cyclists on the highway and I am convinced that fatal accidents involving cyclists would significantly fall.
If you are facing criminal prosecution and require assistance please contact us on 0800 195 6567 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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