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Two Britains on the road

Only honest drivers get fined | Ross Clark - Times Online
As the police and the DVLA between them attempt to police the roads by remote control..why bother taking a driving test, buying insurance and registering her vehicle at all when she could look forward to years of road-hogging and illegal parking with minimal chance of being caught?

It is scandalous enough that the personal data of millions of British driving test applicants have gone missing on a computer disc in America, but even worse is the failure of the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) to keep accurate data in the first place. There are at least one million drivers on the roads who needn't worry about the DVLA spewing their insurance details to potential criminals — they don't have any insurance. Similarly, the owners of 820,000 vehicles need not worry about their names, addresses and registration details going missing: the DVLA has admitted it doesn't even have the information.

Drive along a British road and it is easy to imagine that everything is under control: reckless motorists will quickly be trapped by speed cameras, unregistered and stolen vehicles will soon be scooped up by the numberplate recognition cameras now fitted at every petrol station. The reality, of course, is that a system of traffic policing that is ever more reliant on the recognition of numberplates is only as good as the database of vehicle owners that sustains it — and that is next to useless. It is fine for catching out honest, if careless, drivers, yet the growing population of motoring outlaws gets to drive with impunity.

I remember taking the ferry over to Rosslare, and because my car had low ground clearance I was down on the commercial deck with the Transit vans. Of the eight that surrounded me only two had tax discs. If you are middle class you worry about such things but in today's Britain if you slip below the radar, stay there.

Comments

The substitution of cameras etc for actual policing the roads appears to me to have coincided
with an increase in sloppy and dangerous driving; lane discipline seems to have disappeared around the country roads where I live. I am frankly staggered and frightened by the number of drivers I see heading towards me on my side of the road, often on the phone or even worse texting. (Lorry and van drivers seem particularly guilty of texting whilst driving down the middle of the road. I am not so sure about farmers: they just block the road. Merry Christmas.

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