Where's the point?

For the first time in quite a few years, my driving licence is clean. Throughout my driving career of fifteen years, I've had a total of fifteen points and over eight hundred quids worth of fines and penalties.

So where did it all go wrong? Why have the traffic cops and the courts had to keep coming down on me? It's because I'm a terrible driver and a huge threat to society, obviously. For "terrible driver" and "huge threat" read, I choose to ignore all their crappy laws.

I have never caused a traffic accident or harmed another person, or put them at undue risk on the roads through my own actions.

Really?So why all the fines and stuff? I'm going to start with a pretty bad example, but I have to start with it as it's the first one, chronologically.

I was nineteen, I had been driving for about a year and I got caught speeding on the motorway. I can't quote any high minded ideals for this one, it was back before the day I discovered Libertarianism, back in the times when I was just another sheep of the state.

I was doing 101mph. Oops! Maybe that's a little high, but still, it was a clear day and traffic was light and no harm was done. I was summonsed straight to court and given 6 points and a 250 quid fine. Apparently I got off lightly because you are supposed to be banned if you go over 100mph. Fortunately the duty solicitor was a good one, however he wasn't Captain Ranty.

That was closely followed by a sixty quid fine for parking on a double yellow line.

My next biggy was in my clapped out Ford Capri. (Shut up, we all had one). I got three points and a 100 quid fine for "defective parts". The front wing had rusted through at the tip. The copper said it was dangerous if I hit someone because it would drag them under the car?? They probably shouldn't be in the road in the first place but he wasn't interested in that. The second fault was the battery was loose in the tray. He said if I have a crash the battery would jump up out of the tray and spray horrid nasty stuff all over the place. That's assuming the battery somehow made it's way out of the bonnet, and besides modern batteries are sealed quite well. Again, no interest, just a fine.

I later got a rather large fine for having no tax on the Capri, in excess of 100 quid. I taxed the car but ignored the fine. I also got fines (they call it an offer of "out of court settlement") for 28 quid on a Carlton and 97 quid on an Escort for no tax. All ignored, all went away.

I got a letter through the post from Lancashire Police saying I was to be fined sixty quid for doing 36 in a 30 zone in Preston. I wrote back saying someone was test driving the car with a view to buying it. They let me off. These days it probably wouldn't be that easy.

I've been pulled over in excess of twenty times for a random breath test or just a random stop check, none of which have resulted in any problems.One time I saw the cop car turn round after it passed me so I just pulled over, got out and waited. The police were quite shocked and seemed a bit nervous. I think they thought I was going to go Reservoir Dogs on them. I said it was obvious you were going to pull me so I thought I'd save us both some time. Every time I get pulled, I get out and light a fag. They always ask me to put it out and I always say no. Neither do I answer any questions or provide any documents at the roadside.

The crowning glory of my penalty points history was being done for driving with no insurance. You know when you have a comprehensive policy and it allows you to drive other cars? Well I've always had that until one time I forgot to read the small print. This was about three and a half years ago.

I borrowed my dads car because my clapped out Sierra 4x4 had broken down. It was the first time I took his car out and I got caught straight off. I have no idea how they knew. I tried to explain it was a mistake and I was only two minutes away from home but they were having none of it. They impounded my car and gave me a fixed penalty ticket for 6 points and a 200 quid fine. It cost me a further 117 quid to get the car back.

My dad could have collected the car before the recovery truck arrived but they insisted it had to be impounded.

I got pulled again for no insurance in another car a year or so later. This was on a motorway. The copper rang my insurance company and verified that it was in fact covered. Apparently it takes up to five days for your details to appear on the database, and this was a new policy. He let me got but told me that he wasn't an actual traffic cop, and if he had been, my car would have been impounded again. They would not have made the phoncall, the database is enough evidence to impound the car, it's then up to me to prove I have insurance.

The insurance company would not have paid the release fee because they had done their bit correctly. The coppers certainly wouldn't pay it.

As for accidents, I've been involved in three. I had an escort that was due to be scrapped as soon as the MOT ran out. Someone plowed into the passenger side on a carpark and wrecked it. I got 450 quid off their insurance. Result. A taxi driver once ran into the back of me at a crossing when I was drivimg a company car. No harm done, and a woman once did the same when I was driving another Escort. The damage was minimal and the car was a banger anyway so I let her off.

So, fifteen points and a small fortune in fines, paid or unpaid, all for the valiant efforts of our traffic police to keep the streets of Britain safe.

My licence is once again clean. That means I've plenty of space to start all over again, just the way the coppers like it.


As an asside, in fifteen years of driving I've owned sixteen cars. The DVLA hate me, not only for the tax but for the massive admin costs :-)


As another asside, have you noticed how they have changed the name of the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency) to the VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency)? It's good to know that taking my money with the threat of force is now a "service" they are offering me.

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