Nigel Thornton: Too old to drive?

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
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The terrible crash which claimed the life of a woman in her 90s was a tragedy that shocked the city.

It is believed the elderly driver was driving the wrong way on the A47 near Peterborough City Hospital when she hit another car head-on. The driver of that car, a woman in her 40s, thankfully survived, but her life may well be adversely affected forever and she may well become the forgotten victim.

Most people’s initial reaction will have been what a terrible tragedy. Most people’s second reaction will have been to question whether anyone should be driving in their 90s.

We do not know, and might never know, the full circumstances that led to this accident.

But even if age was a factor, what is the answer?

There are so many factors that can be responsible for a car crash a blanket ban imposed on drivers who reach a certain age would be unfair.

I wouldn’t mind betting there are plenty better drivers who are in their 70s than some in their teens.

Young people, we know, are the most likely to have a car accident, but no-one is suggesting raising the driving age limit.

I’m sure I’m a safer driver now than the 18-year-old me who proudly ripped up his L plates even though I’m equally sure my reactions are slower.

With an ageing population, and an ever increasing reliance on our cars, it’s right that there should be a public debate. But as is often the case the solution is not as simple as it first might appear.

The van squad

Not so long ago Peterborough’s former top cop Tony Ixer sparked some debate when he said that due to funding cuts the police would no longer be able to provide the public with a “gold-plated service’’.

So it’s heartening to see then the amount of effort the police made to try and crack the puzzling case of TV star Warwick Davis and his stolen caravan.

I’m sure caravan owners across the city are comforted to know that should a similar misfortune befall them then Cambs police will be relentless in their pursuit of the thieves.

Put in our place

Woolwich man Stewart Jackson has been sticking the boot into your PT on Twitter.

The MP for Peterborough, Mr Jackson has taken exception to our reporting of a couple of court cases. He was unhappy that we referred to a Peterborough student as a “Peterborough student’’ and to a man who lived in Peterborough as a “Peterborough man’’.

I should add that the student lived in Baston (studies at PRC) and the man had a surname (Masilionis) that suggests his origins are a bit further east than Eastern Industry.

So you may think Mr Jackson has a point. He asserts that we were “annoying’’ our readers.

All I can say is, we don’t have a monopoly on that.

Gedney 1, Leeds 0

Having clocked up more than 50 years as a Leeds United fan, nothing shocks me. Some of my fellow fans though can still find their jaws dropping at the shenanigans at the club.

The sacking of yet another manager was barely eyebrow rising but the appointment of Steve Evans caused a few gasps. Steve, of course has strong links to the area although I wouldn’t go as far as calling him a Peterborough man.He made his name managing the likes of Stamford and Boston and its that humble pedigree that worries the Elland Road faithful.

Imagine how they’d react if they knew he’d also been the manager of Gedney Hill.

Future not Bright

The headline, allegedly printed in The Times, Small earthquake in Chile, not many dead, has gone down in journalism folklore as the most boring headline and story ever. Now we in Peterborough have one to match it with Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright to not stand for re-election in 2016.

The future’s not Bright but does anyone care?

It’s a big job...

Good luck to Gillian Beasley who on Monday began her new role as chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council while maintaining the same position with the city council. Only time will tell if the arrangement is a success but the suggestion it is doomed to failure from the start is ludicrous. There is only one Pope, one President of the USA and one chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell – and I think they run even bigger organisations.than Peterborough and Cambridgeshire councils combined.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Everyone knows that babies and toddlers are oftern more interested in wrapping paper than any gifts that might be inside.

Baby T2 is turning the alternative toy into an artform.

The little scamp is simply not interested in anything he’s supposed to or allowed to play with.

Instead, in no particular order, his toys of choice are wires, plug sockets, shoes (particularly dirty soles), the stones from our fake “real’’ fire hearth, the TV remote control, radiators and my glasses.

The only conventional toys he’s interested in are his sister’s favourite ones which sends her into a meltdown.

If I didn’t know better (and he wasn’t 11 months old) I’d say he was doing it on purpose just to wind her up or get her back for treating him like one of her many dolls.

In contrast Toddler T has matured into a real consumer – ie she covets any over-priced tat that she sees on the telly.

I used to loathe watching endless episodes of Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly, but now they are a welcome relief from the adverts and the clamour for ownership from Toddler T that follows.

Toy makers are up there with arms dealers (Ground To Air Missiles R Us?) if you ask me.