I have read many letters in Motor Sport, and elsewhere, also the editorial comments, about the very curious things (to put it mildly) that happen to motorists at the hands of the police and magistrates, I have also been a victim myself on several occasions, of course I’ve never injured anyone, or even bent a wing, in a million miles—never had an insurance claim, but have been savagely fined and licence endorsed often enough.
Now what occurs to me is that all the letters to the Press anent these matters seem to miss the essential point: just consider for a moment what a sweet thing they’ve got going here, over a million motorists charged last year (And, as all motorists know, “to be charged is to be guilty”) the police can appear both busy and efficient, while the motorists are so smoothly mulched of millions of pounds—without any protection, this is the essence of it all.
Of all the citizens in this land the motorist is the only one who, when unjustly charged, has to pay large sums of money, to prove himself innocent—any other person when winning an appeal can claim all his costs, as of right, when he is proved innocent—but not the motorist! It may cost us anything from £70 upwards to prove that we were not guilty of the original charge for which we were fined £5 in the first place, so what do we do ? We have to put up with it. However, the cumulative effect of millions of people being unjustly treated is now bearing flower throughout this land, and is plain for all who have eyes to see.
The cure for this situation, and for which all motoring organisations should press, is for costs to be guaranteed against the police where a motorist can prove on appeal that he was wrongfully convicted—and I’ll tell you what, we should see a dramatic fall in the number of motoring cases, a most dramatic fall!
Tolworth, T.C. Rolfe.