Motoring punishments are driving me crazy

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

I’ve only been done for speeding once – and that was almost 40 years ago. I was fined but actually I should have got a medal for getting my clapped out Vauxhall Viva above the speed limit.

Since then my driving record has been exemplary although if I claimed I’d never broken the speed limit since my nose would outstrip Pinocchio’s by the length of the queues around Hampton on Monday morning.

I was up and down the A1 at the weekend and not being in any particular hurry set myself the test of not exceeding the limit.

I failed. No-one would have mistaken me for Lewis Hamilton but in a modern car (I have one now) on fast roads it’s almost impossible to not drift over the speed limit at some point during a long journey. And I did.

I am not minimising the dangers of speeding, but it’s long overdue that we put a stop to the average law-abiding, speed limit-abiding motorist being penalised in a disproportionate manner.

The police and politicians can say what they like but it is easy money – and doesn’t show a true commitment to road safety.

They will dispute this, but if the police had a genuine commitment why don’t they encourage the use of dashcam footage to prosecute some of the appalling driving captured in this way?

And why aren’t people who cause accidents not prosecuted?

My wife was involved in a minor accident last year. As she waited at a junction another car drove into the back of hers. Feeling vulnerable and with two young children she called the police.

The behaviour of the officers was exemplary and after reassuring her the car was roadworthy were on their way.

They had no interest in the other driver who apologetically admitted the crash was totally his fault.

Clearly this was a case of careless driving yet the driver escapes without a fine and points.

I have a friend who was given three points and fined for speeding at 34 mph in a 30mph limit. He didn’t cause an accident.

Why should he be punished when the driver whose bad driving causes an accident escapes scot free?

We know the answer, of course, my friend’s case takes up no police resource while the accident would.

But why couldn’t my friend have been fined £10 and given one penalty point and the accident-causing driver be given a £100 fixed penalty notice?

You can get fined for cycling down Bridge Street so why not for causing a road accident?

Name games

I’m sure it’s been a hectic time for new Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya but I’m glad she’s found to time to change her Twitter ‘handle’. You may recall last week I suggested ‘Fiflowertot’ wasn’t appropriate for an MP. I am pleased to report it is now the much more appropriate ‘FionaOnasanyaMP.’

Talking of inappropriate, reader and former head teacher of this parish Toby Wood was prompted to tell me how he once interviewed a teacher whose email address was SexyBitch@...

She didn’t get the job.

I think you missed a trick there, Toby!

It doesn’t add up

Cambridgeshire police failed to record 7,000 crimes in a six-month period, which is not far short of 40 crimes a day.

These shocking figures come three years after Her Majesty’s Inspectorate told the force its recording of crime wasn’t good enough.

The police and crime commissioner (PCC) Jason Ablewhite says that is “not acceptable’’.

He added: “... the achievement of a ‘good’ for our accuracy in recording reassures me that we can get this right.’’

If you go to the swish PCC website under a picture of Mr Ablewhite is an explanation of his role.

It says: “Police and Crime Commissioners have responsibility for delivering an efficient and effective police service in their area.’’

Failing to record 7,000 crimes is not efficient, it’s not effective.

The blurb goes on to say: “A Commissioner’s role is to support and, when necessary, challenge the Chief Constable.’’

It seems to me there’s a bit too much support and not enough challenge.

We’re jammin’

Highways England were guilty of a spectacular own goal with the A1 roadworks that caused gridlock in Peterborough this week. Their communications were pathetic and they were very slow to respond.

Perhaps they were held up in traffic.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

The sweltering heat we’ve endured (I know, we’re never happy, it’s either too hot, too cold or too inbetween!) presents a special challenge to parents of toddlers at bedtime.

The mercury was touching 30C in Toddlernator the Terrible’s (T the T)bedroom.

We put a fan in his room but it didn’t seem to do much good although it went down well with the small occupant. “Wow, that’s amazing,’’ gushed the easily-pleased T the T, as he spotted something new with moving parts. “It’s not for playing with,’’ I warned him, but made sure it was well out of reach just in case.

Our worries proved unfounded because as usual the children proved themselves far more adaptable than us parents.

MrsT press ganged me into being her own personal punkah wallah, but her dramatic and loud wailing about the heat was the biggest threat to the kids getting a good night’s sleep.