Thursday, January 13, 2011

British Man Fined for Warning Other Drivers of Speed Trap by Flashing Lights


If there’s one thing all car enthusiasts can agree on, it’s that speed cameras are a nuisance. Back in the good ol’ days, you would see the van or a sign indicating a fixed camera long before you came to it. You’d slow down, pass by it and then speed up again. Don’t be shy, we all do it. Now, these so-called “life savers” hide behind bushes in unmarked vehicles, all the while speed related deaths and injuries continue to rise.

In what I’ll fancifully describe as the government’s latest bid to demoralise its citizenry, a British man has been fined £175 (US$279) and ordered to pay £265 (US$412) in court costs and surcharges after flashing his lights seven times at oncoming motorists in July of last year. Why was he flashing his lights? To warn them of a speed trap, of course.

The man, Michael Thompson, was in the Grimsby Magistrates’ Court last week where the verdict was handed down. The charge was “willfully obstructing a police officer”, which Mr. Thompson disputed in his hearing. He claimed that he was trying to warn motorists of the trap to prevent them braking suddenly upon sighting it – a cause of many-a rear-end collision.

Mr. Thompson was pulled over by police in his home town of Grimsby. In the hearing, it was revealed that the officer told Mr. Thompson that what he had been doing was perverting the course of justice, to which he replied, “I don’t believe that’s the case.” The officer then said, “I was going to let you off with a caution – but I’m not now.”

In my opinion, it’s hard to see how it that could be perverting the cause of justice, unless “justice” is catching motorists speeding and not preventing accidents. When questioned whether the case was absolutely necessary, a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) responded:

"Cost is not a consideration in our decision to prosecute. When a file is provided to the CPS from the police, it is our duty to decide whether it presents a realistic prospect of conviction and whether a prosecution is in the public interest. In accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors a prosecution was deemed appropriate.”

Though Carscoop does not endorse speeding or breaking the law, it’s hard to see how this latest case is in the public interest. You would think getting motorists to slow down through blackspots (this being the original purpose of speed cameras) would be more important than revenue raising, but then I don’t work for the British government. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Tristan Hankins

Via Telegraph


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