Forget the loopholes: if you speed, face the consequences
So another politician sees his career implode after lying in court. Disgraced Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne has resigned as energy secretary after admitting lying about a speeding ticket in 2003. He had claimed his now ex-wife was driving the car at the time it was flashed by a speed camera as he drove back from Stansted airport – but was subsequently rumbled, and now faces perjury charges and very likely a prison sentence.
It’s a timely reminder of the perils we face every day as motorists. Forget errant drivers, soaring petrol prices and crater-festooned roads; we must now drive while under surveillance 24/7. There is no hiding from the eyes of the law any more.
Speeding MP admits perverting the course of justice
5,000 speed cameras line the main road arteries around Britain
A network of some 5,000 speed cameras line the main road arteries around Britain and countless CCTV cameras belonging to local authorities and the Highways Agency act as spies in the sky. As Huhne has discovered, if you commit an offence, you pay.
I know this to my own cost. Before Christmas I was visiting London and, as I approached Clapham Common on the South Circular at 6pm on a winter’s evening, my six-year-old son declared an urgent need for a pee. I drove into a quiet side road and pulled over. He answered nature’s call behind a tree and, 30 seconds later, we were on our way.
Imagine my astonishment when a few weeks later a brown envelope arrived, bringing with it a road traffic penalty notice. A CCTV operative had watched me stop in a restricted area and dispatched an £80 fine automatically. I had no local knowledge and had seen no such warning signs. I was furious!
next time Plod feels your collar behind the wheel, consider your options carefully
Unlike Huhne, 57, my personal brush with the motoring law had a happy ending. I appealed my ticket, pointing out that a real live human being would watch the video footage and see my son hop out, do his business and return to the car 30sec later. I was gobsmacked when the usually faceless Wandsworth Council applied some common sense and repealed my ticket.
So next time Plod feels your collar behind the wheel, consider your options carefully. Rather than trying to find a family member or cash-strapped student to take your penalty points, or contacting Mr Loophole – motoring lawyer Nick Freeman renowned for saving the rich and famous from driving offences on legal technicalities – consider the safer option.
Telling the truth. There’s so much technology out there watching our every move, it’s the only choice for motorists caught out. Just ask Chris Huhne.
Tim Pollard is managing editor of MSN Cars. Follow him on Twitter @timpollardcars
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