Same S**t Different Shovel: The War On Motorists

The word has come down from beyond Hadrian’s Wall that the Scottish police are to abandon the idea of being slightly lenient on speeding and are abandoning the ‘10% + 2mph’ guideline. They say it’s a trial but, as we all know, that’s just a euphemism for ‘you’re nicked’. From now on one mile per hour over the limit will see Scotland’s motorists on the wrong end of a fine.

They say, it is to cut the accident rate which apparently has risen in the last couple of years. Not good. On the face of it then that seems fair enough but this writer believes they are being disingenuous in that this particular revenue stream has been drying up a bit of late, hasn’t it? Also, I’m slightly concerned about drivers becoming so paranoid about their speed that they may well spend too much time concentrating on the dial and not on the road.

Further, and once again, this sort of stringent regulation takes no account of all the other reasons why people have car accidents thus compounding my suspicions. We’ve all seen examples of idiotic driving, often at slow speeds. Using in-car devices, checking the lippy, junction blindness – the list goes on and on. As usual though it’s speed to which the authorities give their close attention, largely because they can do it via machines and not have to put actual bobbies on the ground to catch miscreants. I’m all for road safety and, yes, speeding is part of the problem but to penalise motorists for a couple of mph seems very excessive. We all make mistakes.

Okay, you might say, that’s Scotland. What’s it got to do with the rest of us? Well, it is very simple. As soon as this info came to light the Old Bill in England and Wales sat up and took notice so expect very soon to see the same thing happen here. Mark my words. It will be as I have foretold.

And that’s not all. Chancellor George has seen revenue from motorists drop as we seek out ever more efficient and VED-busting motors. Although this is as a result of EU policy that hasn’t stopped the Man With The Red Box from having another look inside the national motorists’ wallet. Thus it has come to pass that George has said the present ‘charge by emissions’ VED rates are ‘not sustainable’, by which he probably means they are not bringing in sufficient readies.

For cars registered after 1st April 2017 the VED rates will change so that the majority of cars will all be rated at £140 per annum. A cash infusion at a stroke. The windfall, George says, will be ‘ring-fenced’ for roads – but not until 2020 (three years after the VED change) at which time there will be a general election and the rules will doubtless shift like goalposts on soft sands. By the way; ‘freezing’ petrol duty is not the same as knocking a penny or two off per litre. It’s not a ‘saving’ for us.

Whatever the final outcome the fact is that motorists will continue to be treated as a cash dispenser (despite the PM’s assertion that the war on motorists was over) and it won’t stop with VED. There is to be an increase in insurance premium tax and our insurers aren’t going to absorb that, are they? Same s**t, different shovel.

Geoff Maxted
P.S: I’m not being coy. The **s are there because I vowed from the outset that DriveWrite text would not contain profanity, vulgarity or general coarseness. That’s my rule.