Tuesday, December 15, 2009

War Crimes and Bald Tyres

There's a big tray of forms in the retiring room - I figured they were all sentencing decision proformas or biscuit requisitions. Now that I know that somehow it's possible for Magistrates to issue warrants for the arrest of foreign politicians, I will definitely pay a bit more attention.

This week's sitting didn't have nearly that amount of drama, which was just as well because the Chair didn't show up and two Magistrates with a combined total of three years experience had to take care of business.

Pick of the cases was that of a confused old man who had had two blow-outs on his trailer. His response ? Keep on driving.

Eventually a concerned citizen called the police to report a car and trailer bouncing diagonally through the town centre. The vehicle examiner's report read like an air accident report - he had absolutely wrecked the brakes, the axle, the lights. Worst of all the tyres were so far gone that he had probably carved tramlines in the road surface with the rims.

What made the case interesting to me was his utter inability to grasp that he had done anything wrong. His story when stopped by police had been that he was on the way to the garage to get the tyres fixed. Even if that was true (and the vehicle examiner was doubtful), how did he convince himself that driving a death-trap through a population centre wasn't any kind of problem ?

He was genuinely gob-smacked when we found him guilty and docked his benefits for the next two years or so. Guidelines allowed us only to put three points on his licence though, which sounds mightily lenient to me given the potential mayhem that he was risking - imagine if he had kangaroo'ed through a bus queue ?

The thought that haunts me is this : When I do my 30,000 miles per year, how many people like this am I sharing the road with ?


phatboy said...

Yep, so many people on the road seem to have the notion that "it's my car so what does it matter what state it's in?"

I once met a lad who informed me that he didn't need insurance as he was just going to buy a old cheap car and it wouldn't matter if he smashed it up.

He was gobsmacked by the idea that the insurance was for his victims rather than him!

Stan said...

Not surprising when you've got Jeremy Clarkson on a recent Top Gear http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G60XNNM8-cc talking to an insurance company, complaining that the quote for annual insurance was 15 times the value of the car for a young driver. His comment was something like "You're telling me that I'm going write it off fifteen times in a year".

No, Jeremy - it's because young drivers are prone to crashing and killing or maiming multiple people.