A punishment to fit the crime

The man who set a new record for the fastest speed-limit transgression caught on camera has been released from prison.

The Porsche 911 driver admitted to doing 172mph on a 70mph section of the A420. Previous ‘records’ included 175mph by the rider of a Honda Fireblade motorcycle and 156.7mph by a BMW M3 driver. The Porsche offender was jailed for 10 weeks, with a three-year ban. The others were jailed for six weeks and five months respectively.

But shouldn’t prison sentences be imposed on motorists for dangerous driving only when someone has been killed or injured? Of course those who break the law must be punished, but heavy fines for excessive speeding may mean little to those who indulge in this in today’s fabulously expensive 170 to 200mph supercars. Impounding (not crushing) their prized cars for long periods, with equally long bans, could be imposed. Driving at high speeds (even the Rolls-Royce Phantom can do 149mph) can be safe when a road is clear and has no side turns, as on motorways.

Such exceedingly fast cars may have small sales, but they represent prestige for their manufacturers. The 253mph Bugatti Veyron (pictured), price £839,000, the McLaren F1 road car (priced at over £1m) and the bargain-basement Caparo T, which Autocar has driven at 205mph, fall into this category. I often wonder where those who own such rapid cars can legally exercise them to their full extent.

Prison sentences should be confined to murderers, terrorists and other criminals. Perhaps enhanced fines might be seen as reasonable by magistrates and judges who think that any speed over 70mph is lethal?