Get in and buckle up, we’re being taken for a ride again.
Richard Gilderoy was observed travelling at up to 87mph on a 60mph road, in traffic, as was Neil Walker who was driving “a short distance behind”.
The prosecution lawyer “said it was considered they may have been racing, but, following a review of evidence, it may have been more of a case of some showing off.”
Both drivers admitted careless driving, having denied dangerous driving.
The judge said “the accident appeared to result from momentary inattention”.
Both drivers received a £300 fine and penalty points. Neither received any disqualification.
Hang on a minute
Sorry, but this is all bullshit.
Two drivers in close proximity doing nearly 150% of the speed limit: call it racing or showing off, it doesn’t matter, it’s semantics of the flimsiest kind. It’s two people responding to each other’s reckless behaviour by reproducing it.
To call the crash an “accident” is positively contemptible; to attribute it to “momentary inattention” is beyond the pale. No-one but the drivers themselves chose to drive at 87mph, overtaking other vehicles as they did so. This was no accident, no momentary inattention: It was a choice to drive dangerously. It was a choice to construct a scenario where the slightest mistake could be catastrophic.
And there’s that old chestnut again: none of this behaviour is labelled by law as “dangerous”: it could choose to do so, but it is unwilling or unable. It is impotent and dismissive. Whether you consider the screamingly absurd semantics of saying that it is not “dangerous”, the equal absurdity of deeming a conscious decision to drive and overtake at these speeds “careless”, or the strict letter of this not being considered “far below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver”, this stinks.
Tell me how this chosen behaviour is careless. Tell me how driving at 50% above the speed limit and overtaking traffic at rush hour is not dangerous. Tell me why the standard expected of me is—as legally defined—”not far” above this.
When it comes to driving offences, the law is an ass. Its language is an ass, its application is an ass, and tragically often the judges who remark on the cases they preside over make comments that are as asinine as any other aspect.
There is no ban here, no retesting, no process to ensure that these patently dangerous behaviours are gone. We are fobbed off with “accident”, “momentary inattention”, “showing off”—all from the people employed in roles intended to protect the public at large. These men are charged the price of a mobile phone for their actions and simply left to get on with it. And we are all left to share the roads with them.
We’re being taken for a ride, all of us, and it’s dangerous.