What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

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mjr
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What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby mjr » 19 Oct 2018, 3:51pm

ITV last night broadcast a supposed news show called "Tonight: Driving - The True Cost?" which, rather than considering the economic harm done by the death, destruction and disease caused by motoring, was more like a half-hour partly-political broadcast on behalf of the motoring lobby, including occasional forum favourite Edmund King of the AA (pictured) saying that first-time offenders should be let off and not fined just because they didn't obey road signs or markings.

Alongside Mr King was Mr Loophole and a succession of "decent, honest, hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying, normal, sensible, reasonable, down-to-earth, hard-working, normal, law-abiding, down-to-earth, sensible, reasonable people, hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying, fleeced, decent, honest, hard-working, law-abiding, NORMAL, decent, reasonable, sensible, law-abiding, normal, hard-working people of this country who don't want to pay their speeding fines regardless of how fast we may have been going the wrong way up the slip road on a phone, no seatbelt, no tax, no MOT, no insurance whilst eating a burger and receiving something "oral" whilst on the telephone - haven't you got anything better to do, officer?" (as Al Murray famously said in 2005) - although actually, it was more yellow-box offences (including one sequence where a reporter appeared to get all panicky because motorists honked when she refused to drive into a yellow box before her entry was clear - let's fine the inappropriate honkers too, I say!), various types of no-entry fines and excess parking charges, more than speeding. I think even ITV struggled to find a legitimate defence of speeding. Although they did praise Community Speedwatch because the poor downtrodden speeding motorists get warnings rather than fines and points and they're only speeding because the poor little lambs are confused about what the numbers in red circles mean or something.

Did anyone else have the misfortune to see this terrible unbalanced propaganda? Is there any chance of reducing road casualties when the second-biggest broadcaster is shovelling out dung like this in prime-time in defence of pretty clear-cut bad driving?
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AA President Ed King accusing councils of tricking bad drivers into breaking the law so they can collect fines
Last edited by mjr on 19 Oct 2018, 5:39pm, edited 1 time in total.
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gaz
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Re: What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby gaz » 19 Oct 2018, 5:14pm

I'm quite happy with the idea that the law abiding ones don't get fined.

I'm absolutely certain that the ones who don't abide by the law usually don't get fined either.

Perhaps that's the problem. They get away with it so often that they feel they should get away with it all the time.

thirdcrank
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Re: What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Oct 2018, 5:32pm

I didn't see it so I can't comment. I hope nobody would suggest I'm opposed to enforcement.

I would say on the subject of councils tricking drivers - words attributed to King Edmund formerly of CAR - I'd have to say we get plenty on here about poor signs in connection with cycling farcilities so it should surprise nobody that the same incompetence applies to quite a lot of signs. One of my stock phrases when driving is "What do you expect from buffoons?"

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mjr
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Re: What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby mjr » 19 Oct 2018, 5:42pm

thirdcrank wrote:I would say on the subject of councils tricking drivers - words attributed to King Edmund formerly of CAR - I'd have to say we get plenty on here about poor signs in connection with cycling farcilities so it should surprise nobody that the same incompetence applies to quite a lot of signs.

But where the signs are incorrect, fines are rejected/revoked when challenged. What Mr King seemed to be arguing for was a blanket first-one-free system - not just that motorists get one warning somewhere and then fined, but that each motorist is allowed to break each yellow-box or turn/entry restriction once!
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tatanab
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Re: What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby tatanab » 19 Oct 2018, 6:11pm

mjr wrote:But where the signs are incorrect, fines are rejected/revoked when challenged. What Mr King seemed to be arguing for was a blanket first-one-free system - not just that motorists get one warning somewhere and then fined, but that each motorist is allowed to break each yellow-box or turn/entry restriction once!
Not quite. What was proposed was a short grace period where an existing junction or system is changed. e.g. if a turning becomes "no right turn" then a warning notice is erected to highlight the change and the short grace period before penalties are posted.

I was frustrated bt Mr Loophole saying that "these are just normal people going about their everyday business and making a mistake for which they should not be penalised" - or words to that effect.

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Re: What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Oct 2018, 6:23pm

While waiting for somebody to post who saw the programme, I'll offer this.

King Edmund doesn't seem to me as anti-enforcement. I've seen more complaints from him about the reduction in specialist traffic policing than from CUK and everybody else put together.

Nick Freeman is different in that every media interview is free publicity for his firm, in fact he's probably paid to appear.

I get the impression here that what's being discussed is decriminalised traffic enforcement. You get a ticket for things like infringing a box junction and if you don't like it you have to argue the toss in front of an adjudicator. Guilty until found innocent. For a lot of people, it's not worth the hassle but much of the enforcement has been privatised with poorly-trained people with an incentive to issue as many fixed penalties as possible. There's nothing wrong with the principle of fixed penalties, but IMO the people issuing them need good training so they act properly.

Nick Freeman - as a lawyer - has a vested interest in opposing decriminalised enforcement which gives no role to our learned friends. It's the end of the loophole.

As an example of decriminalised enforcement, take bus lanes. No doubt in my mind that people who abuse them should face enforcement, but around here, the maintenance of the white lines is so poor that it's sometimes difficult to work out where you should be on the road because the paint is badly worn. It's easy to say use that as a defence but if it's camera enforcement, the arrival of the fixed penaly may mean it's too late to go back and start working out which non-existent white lines you missed. In case anybody's wondering, I've not been on the receiving end, but there have been many times I've nearly been caught out, even in areas where I know my way around
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PS I think that things like yellow line parking should be robustly enforced. It's only when people think there's a good chance of getting away with it that they risk it and then get miffed if they are caught

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Re: What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby tatanab » 19 Oct 2018, 6:43pm

thirdcrank wrote:I get the impression here that what's being discussed is decriminalised traffic enforcement. You get a ticket for things like infringing a box junction and if you don't like it you have to argue the toss in front of an adjudicator. Guilty until found innocent. For a lot of people, it's not worth the hassle but much of the enforcement has been privatised with poorly-trained people with an incentive to issue as many fixed penalties as possible. There's nothing wrong with the principle of fixed penalties, but IMO the people issuing them need good training so they act properly.

Something that Nick Freeman said (it appears in trailers for the programme) is along the lines that "other offences are being decriminalised while motoring mistakes are being criminalised". I cannot recall the exact words. For many years now I have asked friends and work colleagues "how many offences does the innocent motorist have to commit before they think they are doing something wrong?". Clearly the answer is that people are not taught the law, only the few parts (if that) which appear in the Highway Code.

I saw the programme and almost turned over half way through because it was the usual claptrap, although it did highlight some appalling highways design which "forced" drivers to offend. As a local, surely you know the problem and would avoid that part of the road.

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Re: What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Oct 2018, 8:04pm

I wonder if the word "decriminalised" is being used in different ways. When I use the word, I mean that it's being taken out of the criminal courts - prosecution - system and dealt with as a civil matter. Not all fixed penalties by any means have been decriminalised: get a ticket for speeding or driving a carriage on a footpath at the side of a highway (AKA pavement cycling) and you can fight it in the magistrates' court and higher. Get a ticket from the highway authority for something like driving in a bus lane and you pay up or make your case to an adjudicator.

I fancy Nick Freeman is really talking about what is often referred to as "court diversion": cases are dealt with by things like formal cautions without a court case, with less work for our learned friends. It's a bit disingenuous to imply that drivers don't benefit here because things like speed awareness courses are court diversion systems but above all, you don't need a lawyer to get you on one instead of going to court.

There's a lot of misunderstanding over these sorts of issues, not helped by two-faced politicians who want the police to deal with as many cases as cheaply as possible outside the court system, but allege that the police are giving criminals no more than a slap over the wrist.

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Re: What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby reohn2 » 19 Oct 2018, 8:13pm

Didn't see the program so cant comment,but what I'm increasingly witnessing,as I drive 12k mile per annum,are all kinds of traffic signs being obscured either partially or totally by foliage the worst of which are direction signage and an increasing amount of too much signage in too short of time/space to register it all,I know I'm an old chart but I still have all my faculties and drive carefully.

I'm also aware of a lack of speed limit roundels on unfamiliar routes,I'm aware of lamposts denote 30 limit but reminders for those who don't know or have forgotten would be welcome so no one's left in doubt what the limit is,when driving in France I'm never left in any doubt of speed limits due to their 'Rappel' signs.
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thirdcrank
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Re: What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Oct 2018, 8:19pm

A lot of new 20mph limits have been introduced in Gildersome with the signs being erected during this last week. One just round the corner is more or less in a bush.

Unless something has changed, you will only see 30mph repeaters where there are no lampposts. That's a fairly recent change (last 20 years?) because previously, no lamp posts meant no speed limit.

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Re: What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby brynpoeth » 19 Oct 2018, 9:18pm

tatanab wrote:..
I saw the programme and almost turned over half way through because it was the usual claptrap, although it did highlight some appalling highways design which "forced" drivers to offend. As a local, surely you know the problem and would avoid that part of the road.

How might bad design "force" drivers to offend?
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661-Pete
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Re: What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby 661-Pete » 21 Oct 2018, 9:26am

You can watch the programme on catch-up, here:
https://www.itv.com/hub/tonight/1a2803a1106
(needs registration with itv.com)

What can one say? Early on in the programme, following some dashcam footage of appalling behaviour, the presenter comments "Only a tiny minority of motorists behave that badly...". This may be true of behaviour captured on camera which directy leads to an accident - but I beg to differ when it comes to so-called 'minor' motoring infractions like speeding and jumping the lights. My guess is, well over half - perhaps 90% - of motorists regularly flout the law in these matters. And this behaviour is also dangerous. Speeding can kill. Jumping the lights can kill.

At another point it was said: "up to 12 million drivers receive a penalty notice annually". Where are these 12 million motorists, I wonder? I'm not one of them. I have had just one brush with the Law in nearly 50 years of motoring, and my guess is, many of my fellow-forummers on here can do better than that!

And parking tickets? Yet to see one of those: what colour are they? :)

Mind you, some sympathy for the poor bloke whose car broke down in a supermarket car park. I believe there's always a contact number displayed and he should have called. Many years ago, I was parked (legally) on a street in Brighton late one evening, and some low-life slashed two of my tyres. I only discovered this as I started to drive off. I could not safely reverse back into the parking space I'd just vacated, so I gingerly manoeuvred the car forwards until I could stop - on a double-yellow. Having got home (by train) I phoned the police, partly to report the crime but also to advise them exactly where I'd left my car - and why. They were most cooperative; they said I'd be all right until I could recover the vehicle. Next day I returned to my car having ordered replacement tyres. No ticket. (Unfortunately the miscreant was never traced...and I was out-of-pocket the cost of two tyres).

Oh - and Mr Loophole. Not surprising he'd get his word in. "Speeding doesn't kill" eh? Would he care to make that remark, face to face with a grieving parent who's lost their child due to a speeding motorist?
Pete

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Re: What chance of law on the roads when TV is pleading for motorists?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 21 Oct 2018, 12:29pm

He's absolutely right - high speed driving doesn't kill.

Neither does shooting a gun.

Assuming both are done in private, closed areas.

For the gun this is called a shooting range, for driving it's called a race track.
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