Crazy trapping

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Sir,
On a Sunday afternoon last October I was driving to Hythe in Kent along the A261. As the road entered the town, I slowed to approximately 30 m.p.h., and was then stopped by a policeman and told that I had travelled at 44 m.p.h. in a built-up area. Beware who uses this road! To all appearances it is an ordinary country highway, bordered by trees and hedges, with a single footpath, and with lamps well concealed amongst the trees. How far can a lamp standard be obscured before it ceases to count?

Admittedly I had missed the 30 sign, but the road was completely empty, and there had been no shred of danger or risk to anyone. The outcome was a fine, and the inevitable endorsement—the first in thirty two years of motoring. The disturbing thought is that virtually every motorist, even be he a magistrate or policeman, commits technical offences such as this every time he takes to the road. This particular stretch of road is completely unlike the average built-up area. It was explained to me by the police that “there are several drives opening into it”. I must confess that I am curious to know which local dignitaries live at the other ends of these drives. Remember Lichfield?

One can appreciate that skulking in the bushes with a radar outfit is a facile escapist activity in this crime-ridden society. Having trapped one in a technicality and placed ones driving licence in jeopardy, I contend that the authorities should still practice ordinary commercial courtesy. My licence was returned in three fragments, and the “bill” included a warning about distraining on my goods if I failed to pay. How have we all become so brainwashed as to accept this kind of nonsense as normal?

[Name and address supplied.—Ed]

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