War Memorial Gary Trouton

February Editorial

February 2004

New years resolutions and driving misdemeanours- what next?

OK! Hands up! How many of those New Year Resolutions made so rashly on New Years Eve are still intact? I know mine aren't.

But failure to keep these resolutions pale into insignificance when we read about recent motoring offences with horrific consequences. This week alone I have read of a number of children killed by drivers who had never passed a test, held any form of motor insurance or had taxed their car. The press has made a great deal of the fact that the majority of such incidents could be attributed to illegal immigrants; people who had no valid means of identification, who could not read or speak sufficient English to be able to read road signs and had no concept of the need to have a vehicle that was safe to drive on the highway. On New Years Day, the driver who killed a nine-year-old boy, had entered the UK on a false passport, had no driving Licence, insurance or road tax and was to be sentenced at Chichester Crown Court in February. But who, in all honesty, expects him to turn up for the sentencing?

At the last count, there were over one million cars being driven in the UK by drivers who have no license or no road tax or no insurance. And what are the police and government doing about it? The police are so focussed on looking at traffic through the lens of their speed cameras that they ignore vehicles if they are being driven within the legal speed limit regardless of their mechanical condition or the way in which they are being driven. Their political leaders are concerning themselves with ensuring that teachers and school assistants are properly versed in understanding the needs of gays and lesbians and with ensuring that a pub pianist or a one-man mouth-organ band does not perform without the requisite music license. Has this country gone stark raving bonkers?

But with regard to un-safe driving, not all offences are committed by illegal immigrants. Just before Christmas, driving towards King's Lynn we became part of a short queue at a junction that included a keep left bollard. A teenage local driver decided that he was exempt from queuing, overtook the small tail-back, passing the keep left bollard on the right and sped off to a, by now, clear road. And this is not a unique occurrence. Regularly I am driven to an emergency stop by senior citizens who have no apparent knowledge of the Highway Code or any appreciation of safe driving etiquette. And then, of course, there are the school run ladies! I have lost count over the past few months of the number of times I have been caused to take evasive action in Downham from lady drivers coming up Paradise Street who appear to have no understanding of roundabout regulations! Nearer to home, many drivers in Stoke Ferry seem to totally oblivious of speed limits. This has become particularly worrying in Oxborough Road where visitors to The Corner Shop race up the road in their cars to turn round in Greatmans Way. Presumably, their assumption is that speed limits do not apply in a cul-de-sac!

Perhaps this should be our real New Years Resolution! We should resolve to ensure that we make every effort to encourage all those we know who drive motor vehicles to meet the sensible and practical rules for safe driving before we too lose one of our precious community children.

Ray Thompson

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