Action Stations?

There is evidence from the correspondence we are already receiving that our call for unity between the Motor Industry, the Motoring Organisations, the Motor Trade and ordinary hard-done-by car owners and driving licence holders is opportune and may even be acted upon if mainly by the private sector of car users and vehicle drivers. Suggestions range from the printing of protest stickers and the assessment of just how many laws govern our "freedom" of the road, that savagely-taxed "privilege", to more drastic measures. All such will need to be carefully sifted and considered.

Already in London a Motorists' Association has been formed, although more to contest restrictions on cars entering the Metropolis and fresh petrol taxation than the overall burdens and persecutions which are inflicted on us. That there is plenty to fight is borne out by the information vigilant readers continue to bombard us with. Like the driver who was fined and endorsed for speeding, in spite of the fact that he wasn't stopped at the time of passing through a Canford Cliffs radar-trap. He pleaded not guilty to an offence he knew nothing about but the remarkable excuse of the prosecuting Constable, that he was talking to another motorist while the driver in question had passed through the trap and that a refuse cart was obstructing his view, was accepted by the Court. The luckless driver claimed 44 years' driving experience with a clean licence. He said it was terribly difficult to plead guilty to something he was not aware of but the Court brushed that aside.

We all know of the lorry driver who would have been convicted of speeding on radar evidence had it not been that his vehicle was fitted with a speed-recording device which gave mute but positive evidence that his estimate of his speed was correct and that of the police quite wrong. This notwithstanding, we now have this case of a driver not being stopped and informed of the estimate of his speed at the time of the alleged offence. And the Post Office has successfully brought a case against the manufacturer of a bleep-device that warns of the presence of radar-traps, although we understand that an appeal is to be made. No doubt this apparatus is highly commended when used to increase safety in small boats; but it is disliked by Authority when used to help vehicle drivers to avoid pernicious persecutions. In the days of the 20 m.p.h. speed-limit the policeman who timed a car at least arrived on his bicycle to state his assumption of the pace attained, so that it was open to the driver to question the distance over which he had been timed, the type of stop watch used, and the means of identification employed. Not any longer!

With rising fines merging with rising taxes and petrol prices, firm protest is clearly desirable and we shall be pleased to receive further comment and suggestions as to how this is to be achieved.