If you can't obey the rules of the road then don't whinge if you're punished!
PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:32 11 October 2018
Archant © 2006
Ipswich council made almost £700,000 from illegally parked cars in the town over the last year. Their parking control staff deserve to be congratulated - let's see if they can push the figure up to £1m this year!
Because illegal parking is a real blight on the town – on towns everywhere and frankly the more money the council can raise from drivers who are too ignorant or too arrogant to abide by parking restrictions the better so far as I’m concerned.
It means there’s more money in their kitty without having to put up council tax bills any higher!
When you travel around Ipswich you’ll inevitably find cars parked illegally on yellow lines somewhere. Most of the time this is a minor inconvenience, you have to pull around the vehicle.
But at rush hours it can easily cause serious congestion. Traffic patrol officers cannot be everywhere. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to use CCTV cameras to take a note of the number plates of illegally parked cars and fire off parking tickets to their registered drivers?
I know some people see people who gather parking tickets as some kind of poor oppressed group being picked on by wicked money-grasping council officials who are direct descendents of the Sheriff of Nottingham, but nothing could be further from the truth.
A few years ago the town of Aberystwyth in west Wales was left with no parking controls because of an administrative cock-up at the local council.
The chaos that followed was so serious that within weeks civic leaders were pushing through emergency local by-laws to bring back traffic wardens!
It isn’t just over parking that we hear frequent whinges from arrogant disgruntled motorists.
You still hear complaints over speed limits and efforts to prosecute motorists who break them – even though excessive speed is one of the main causes of serious accidents.
What on earth is wrong with enforcing speed limits? Shouldn’t all motorways and major routes like the A14 and A12 be fitted with average speed cameras over their entire length to persuade drivers to travel more carefully?
They would be expensive – but judging from the figures of the number of stupid drivers caught speeding over the Orwell or on the A12 Suffolk/Essex border they could soon be made to pay for themselves in fines or fees from Speed Awareness Courses.
I see nothing wrong in using fines from law-breakers to help finance steps to prevent law-breaking, whether that is employing more police officers or putting up more speed cameras. To those who complain that such cameras are a subtle way of raising more tax, I say why should it be subtle? If you don’t want to pay more tax, don’t break the law!
It took many decades for the scourge of drink driving to become unacceptable – back in the 70s or 80s many people convicted of that offence were regarded with sympathy because they wouldn’t be able to drive for a year.
Now they are seen for what they are – as dangerous menaces putting themselves and others at risk on the roads.
When will we start seeing those convicted of driving with excessive speed in the same light?
I think things may be changing. While many of those convicted of motoring offences are youngsters, I get the feeling there is a change in attitude among people of all ages about the way we should use the roads.
It is difficult to know how the motoring scene will change in the next few years. Will the number of vehicles continue to increase at a rapid level?
I know many young people in towns are put off learning to drive by the high costs of lessons and insurance – and the belief that it is simpler to rely on public transport and taxi services. But in rural areas that is certainly not the case.
Will electric vehicles take off and become more practical – and if they do will they all be traditionally-shaped family cars or will they be more “personal” vehicles?
Whatever happens there will have to be rules of the road and those who choose not to obey them will be putting themselves and other road-users at risk.
They will also cause considerable inconvenience to other road users.
Rules about parking, about speeding, and about road safety in general are not pointless. They are there to make life safer.
And if the fines paid by law-breakers keep down the tax bills, however marginally, for the law-abiding majority of the population then what is wrong with that?