Rising number of fines doesn’t always reflect bad driving

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From: Dennis Whitaker, Baildon, Shipley.

FATHER Neil McNicholas (The Yorkshire Post, November 20) has used the number of fixed penalty notices issued to drivers as a basis for his article on basic values and bad driving. It is debatable as to the merit in this argument. Fixed penalties are invariably created by cash cows – inanimate objects incapable of justice – so the problem is much deeper than this. Good manners begin with teaching at home but with so many couples having to work just to keep a roof over their heads, and the influence of TV, very often standards are allowed to fall.

In the matter of driving standards in the UK, generally, drivers are considerate but I accept that most days you will come across a driver who needs to be plucked from the road and shown the error of their ways.

Don’t be fooled by fixed penalty notices though. I have received three, all in London, one for stopping on a box junction which I could not see due to the volume of traffic, one for driving on Royal Hospital Road three minutes before the Congestion Charge ended and once for straying into a bus lane in Cricklewood Broadway while on satellite navigation. This last mistake lasted for 20 seconds without impeding any bus.

Many roads in Yorkshire have had speed limits reduced from 40 to 30 mph. In times of heavy traffic, this is sensible but when there is little traffic and no pedestrians, 40 mph would be safe but cash cows do not recognise this.

Modern cars with disc brakes, ABS and high-tech suspensions and tyres are much safer than cars of yesteryear but again, cash cows do not recognise this either.

Thus far, I have never received a ticket for speeding but I “read the road” which can mean very high speeds on the Autobahn and perhaps five miles per hour where there are schools with children milling around.

I use cruise control in restricted areas (where safe to do so) and, before I retired, I was also a “white van driver” – but there is no substitute for good manners!

From: Allan Ramsay, Radcliffe, Manchester.

WITH 11 London cyclists killed this year, there’s been a clampdown on unsafe cycling.

Fair enough – prevention is better than cure, and given there’s no cure for death, prevention it must be. With cyclists the ones being killed, and 90 per cent of such cases due to driver error, why isn’t there a clampdown on unsafe driving?

Wouldn’t the best prevention be for all drivers to engage in practical cycle training?