Speeding

I'm going to get out my soap-box today 'coz I'm angry. Maybe I shouldn't be. No one else seems to be, which will explain the lack of 'links' in this post.

So what's got me 'sounding off' again? Well it's that court hearing on Wednesday for Lee Bowyer, the Newcastle and ex-England (only has one 'cap' mind) mid- fielder who pleaded guilty for speeding at 99 mph in a 70 mph zone. (News article) There's been plenty of 'jumping up and down' by campaign groups like Brake and the RAC Foundation, who felt that a 45 day disqualification and £650 pound fine with £100 costs was far, far too lenient (he was banned for speeding in 2003 and reputedly earns £30 – £40 grand a week!!). I'm sure our friend Bystander can advise on sentencing guidelines in such circumstances. No, what really 'got my goat' were the comments made by Mr Bowyer's solicitor, Nick (Mr Loophole) Freeman outside the court, after the hearing.

So, this week's award for the Biggest Load of Bullshit goes to Mr Freeman.

I heard this on Radio 5 Live and haven't been able to find a transcript, but in summary he (allegedly) said.

  • Mr Bowyer drives over 50,000 miles per year and this makes him a better driver.
  • Mr Bowyer owns a car capable of 200 mph therefore driving at 99 mph was not 'unreasonable'.

Now, whatever one may think of the intellectual abilities of Britain's footballers one must consider that Mr Freeman has at least a grey cell or two; after all, he managed to get a law degree. So lets consider his two statements.

Doing 50,000 miles a year makes Mr Bowyer a better driver. Perhaps Mr Freeman would like to start up his own car insurance firm. Drivers with above average annual mileage would be given reduced premiums because they're obviously less likely to have accidents. How can insurance actuaries have been getting it so wrong all these years? Statistically, the more you drive, the more likely you are to have an accident. Consequently there are higher premiums for above average milers, plus additional premiums for business use; and Mr Bowyer uses his car to get to matches so I'd have thought that counted as business use. Mr Freeman, however, will be adjudging this type of car use as 'superior' as it makes for a better driver (apparently). Hope my insurance company is taking note "can I have a reduction in my premium next year please".

I drive about 70 to 100 miles per shift, plus overtime. So annually I rack up around 16,000 miles at work plus another 14,000 or so for domestic use. Call it a round 30K per annum. I've not had a 'prang' yet (touch wood), so statistically I'm due for an accident any day now; particularly when you consider that I've been driving for nearly as many years as Mr Bowyer has been alive. (I'll be writing a post soon, I'm sure, about this forthcoming accident). Don't tell my insurers though, not 'til I've got that reduced premium.

Secondly, because Mr Bowyer's car is capable of reaching speeds of 200 mph it's OK for him to drive at 99 mph. So, on the premise that the more expensive the car, the faster it goes – not unreasonable I'd have thought – those who can afford a more expensive car should be allowed to drive faster than the rest of us. And by implication, they must be better drivers 'coz they've got more 'dosh'. Why not set a minimum speed limit on the outside lane of the motorway at say, 70 mph, then those of us in our fiestas, peugeot 206s, etc can poodle along at 70 mph on the inside lanes while the 'rich' can race their porsches and ferraris along at 150 mph on the outside one.

I can't honestly believe that Mr Freeman opened his gob and spouted this crap. Presumably, as he mostly represents the rich and famous, (see here for details) he's got a 'flash' car too and that means he's a better driver than the rest of us. Now I've completed a 3 week, full-time driving course for the ambulance service, and two weeks of that was an intensive high speed response course, all based on the superb book RoadCraft – the police 'bible' I believe. I also get to practice my 'progressive' driving every shift. Safely I hope. I have the advantage of a highly reflective car, lots of blue flashing lights, and some pretty loud sirens; the ambulances have an air horn to boot – great for making people jump! Not withstanding all of that, I abide by the rule of thumb that the maximum safest speed for a 'blue light' response is the legal limit plus 20 mph, ("use your noodle, take into account the road conditions and other users"). So the maximum speed I'm going to travel at is 90 mph. Still well short of Mr Bowyer's 99 mph and he's not 'done' the course or got any of the warning devices. Where on earth does Mr Freeman get the idea that faster cars should somehow be exempt from the national speed limits?

The man's a nincompoop!

____________

Finally, just in case there's a 'sad-o' out there who thinks it's just sour grapes on my part "coz I don't have a flash set of wheels" let me just say that in my pervious life, before 'ambulance world', I was a city trader (that's blown my cover); and yes I did own a 'flash' car that could do in excess of twice the legal limit. I admit that, with hindsight and my current level of training, I was a terror on the road in those days. I didn't have the skills or the 'nouce' to appreciate how dangerous I was. I took it to the limit on the autobähn and it scared the sh*t out of me. Just 'coz I earned the 'big bucks' certainly didn't make me a better driver, in fact I was a right arsehole!

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13 Responses to Speeding

  1. Merys Jones says:

    There’s nowt wrong in having a slower car – it doesn’t make you any safer on the road. I had my first *ahem* slight incident with a Yorkshire terrier. It made me a better driver and thankfully was at very slow speed and the dog’s still alive. (although why it’s owner had it off the lead near the road I will never know).
    Sometimes it takes a near miss to make us better drivers, but driving more miles a year surely makes some people complacent!
    PS – thanks for blogrolling me!

  2. Ken says:

    But in the long term the footballer may be an idiot with a big car, but you have the advantage of being able to drive “progressively” within the realms of the law. And also in general if he crashed when you were on shift and you were first on scene, and treated him, if the situation was reveresed could he do anything remotely useful other than kick a ball? Very much doubt it.

  3. ambutam says:

    couldn’t agree more. prior to my mid life crisis i was a surveyor with the sreies five bmw etc ( a job i hated by the way) and was indestructable on the road. now i drive a diesel astra and know how to drive (a bit), scares my friends when i choose to show them, it IS a weird way to drive, but at least I have some idea about roadcraft – i hope. am a paramedic in scotland and have seen too many acidents now to drive like i use to.

    besides the car, even with lights sirons etc. people dont see /hear you. most drivers are crap drivers. an expensive car probably just means that you are a bigger wanker with less attention being paid to the surrounding events. I was.

  4. Fines should be linked to earnings, As should the right to legal aid. It really is a slap on the wrist for these idiots. Have you noticed that when high profile people get done for speeding just under 100mph ? and that would be because 100mph is a ban… I’m not saying somthing untoward is going on…but the coincidence is a little amusing.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2748411.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2601143.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4027545.stm

  5. Dave M says:

    I dont drive a fast car 110 defender is not fast. my uncle who is a ex fast car driver for the police, he had a fast car, a very fast car but never used it for excess speed when it was not needed, only the once with me and his son with is arm cut in two.
    when i passed my test he give me a present for passing, guess what it was, yes the Roadcraft book. just like him 😀

  6. Bystander says:

    The sentence on Bowyer is not too far off the guidelines. The fine seems low, but fines on the rich are always too low – it’s not fair, but the maximum fine (for the worst possible offence, and a not-guilty plea, id £2000.

    The scandal is that mr. smarty-lawyer managed to plea-bargain the speed down to under 100. If Bowyer really was doing 137, as seems likely, the police should have got their act together and proved it. Then a ban of 6-12 months would be likely, if not a charge of dangerous driving.

    Unfortunately juries often get starstruck in cases like this one, so the CPS might not risk a Dangerous charge

  7. ken says:

    Magwitch where have you gone?! Its been over a week….

  8. Merys Jones says:

    Ken, I was just thinking the same thing…..
    Magwitch, come back…..

  9. domino says:

    he’s left a comment on neenaw that might explain things a bit : http://www.neenaw.co.uk/

    😦

    /delurks

  10. ken says:

    That is genuinely sad. This blog was interesting and provided a great voice, one that I enjoyed far more than Random Reality as magwitch hasn’t got their head in the sky getting drunk over book deals. Magwitch sad to see you calling it a day, I just hope once I get into the Ambulance service I won’t feel as much resentment, then again maybe I will and I’m just being young. Thanks for it while it lasted Magwitch I really appreciate the time you took to write your blog, just sad to see you give up.

  11. Dogsbody says:

    Sorry to see you go Magwitch. Good luck for the future

  12. Very amazing site! I wish I could do something as nice as you did…mary

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