The war on road-users has hotted-up! Gatsos, proposed M-way tolls and a tax on vehicle possession, not useage (and blow your rights to your own place, your “Englishman’s Castle”), the prospect of £5-a-gallon petrol, increased fees for using an inadequate Severn Bridge, vastly increased, sometimes astronomical fines for non-criminal driving offences, emission checks, sleeping policeman (except when in unmarked Q-cars) clamping, ever more stringent MoT checks, and you could be right in thinking war on drivers is increasing, at a rapid rate. . . The Budget pointed clearly to this.
Of course we want fewer accidents. Of course we don’t want the planet ruined by pollution. Of course we want hooligan drivers off the roads. But the car is an essential element of modern civilisation. It has come to stay, and will multiply. Bryan Mawhinney, the Transport Minister, should realise this. So should you, when the time comes to vote for the next Government.
Do you realise that the Home Office has admitted that, because police forces operating Gatsos failed to use correct procedures, thousands of drivers may have been incorrectly taken to Court? Do you realise that if your car fails an emission test you have just 28 days to rectify this or face a fine of up to £2,500, and must also scrap the vehicle, not just leave it idle in the garage? Have you pondered the re-tests you can be made to take, one for each type of vehicle you drive or ride, if you net too many penalty-points on a now-useless licence?
Gatsos may result in what the police call “speed calming”; they also ruin a smooth traffic flow as drivers clap on their brakes on sighting “hidden” cameras, creating a fresh road hazard. Instead of looking ahead, how many of us now peer at car speedometers, knowing that going over the limit incurs a £40 fixed penalty?
The fun is fast going out of motoring for its own sake, without making travel all that much better for the business motorist. We hope your MP, the AA and the RAC (which is keen on costly emission detectors like those Mr Mawhinney had set up in Park Lane recently) and the Motor Trade organisations will heed this, before it is too late.