Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.

Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


Recently penalties for use of a mobile phone whilst driving have increased. Next month those caught speeding will be subject to increased penalties for their transgressions.  These penalties for this kind of offending are a combination of financial, penalty points or disqualification.  The points system as is universally known allows in most circumstances an accumulation of twelve to activate an automatic ban of six months. The problem with this arithmetic is that many varied offences and their range of penalty points feed into a very compressed system.  Other jurisdictions operate a much more sensible system which allows for a greater degree of flexibility of punishment. An interesting study on a Demerit Points System can be downloaded from here.  In Spain there exists positive encouragement to safer driving.  Points are awarded in various amounts and unlike in the UK deductions are made from that total. It seems logical that a points system, top or bottom loaded, could operate much more efficiently if an accumulation larger than UK`s current twelve were operated. With eg 50 points total, punishments could be more refined and directed to where it hurts most for offenders; the possibility of disqualification.

The Sentencing Council persists with its current tick box approach and seems to overlook simpler and more effective methods of punishing driving offences. 


  1. I’ve heard an apocryphal story of French Police stopping a car, and giving the driver a choice, he can either put the phone infront of one of his wheels of his car and he is free to drive away, or he can get a fine and points on his licence.

  2. No government is ever going to win the hearts and minds argument on speeding, because it's a fact that every driver does it multiple times per journey. Anyone who claims not to is, charitably, simply not counting their particular level of transgression as real speeding.

    Unrealistically low limits contribute to this contempt for the law, and the deal sealer is road policing that is blatantly aimed at hitting targets rather than increasing safety - 'urban' 30mph dual carriageways being a favourite hunting ground.

    None of this is new. As far back as 1907, their Lordships were declaring that "Policemen are not stationed in the villages where there are people about who might be in danger, but are hidden in hedges or ditches by the side of the most open roads in the country... I am entirely in sympathy with what the noble Earl said with regard to police traps. In my opinion they are manifestly absurd as a protection to the public, and they are used in many counties merely as a means of extracting money from the passing traveller in a way which reminds one of the highwaymen of the Middle Ages."

    Conversely, if you cause a collision through excess speed, then unless you're intoxicated or it results in serious injury, the police are vanishingly unlikely to take an interest. "Talk to your insurance, that's a civil matter."

    Given all that, I see little hope of rationality running rampant through the legislation, policing and prosecution of what is in the vast majority of cases a victimless crime.