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Saturday, 8 March 2014

What makes jail for drivers different.

Twice in successive weeks two MPs, Jack Dromey, Labour and Caroline Dinenage  were chosen by David Cameron to challenge at PMQs recent jail sentences on drivers and call for even more draconian measures against what has long been an exploited, bullied beleaguered class in our society.

Apart from the road safety profiteers that we are already exposing, there is also the green and ideologically motivated anti driver groups. Make no mistake they are just as vicious and wicked as their cousins in the Green Lobby. Anyone speaking truth and reason is evil in their eyes. As a drivers champion, I can certainly vouch for that. For my temerity in challenging both MPs about their comments, the anti driver bile and dishonesty is in full flood.

Let's face it both MPs did reserve their concerns about life and death road safety until noon on a Wednesday when the TV cameras were rolling. Does road safety only matter on Wednesdays then? But having done that, do they really expect experts in the subject to ignore it? Perhaps it may have been wiser to consult these matters off camera so that there is time for genuine research into a serious subject and avoid the charge of using someone's death to grandstand to and having the whole world see your crass comments.

So what is it that I am trying to impart to MPs who seek to comment on a subject in which they have no expertise, driving, prosecution, sentencing?

Well Caroline Dinenage, in a subsequent twitter, seemed to think that the sentence for death by dangerous driving was less than the 14 years that it is. Or was she suggesting that it should be increased from 14 years? The case she cited involved a sentence of 9 years so since that is 5 years short of the maximum, her argument to increase the maximum is a mystery. Or perhaps she was challenging the Judge in the case. If so, we are in very dangerous water indeed. Judges are at least able to listen to cases and consider them on an individual basis and thus sentence in consideration of all the circumstances, something that Mssrs. Dinenage & Dromey are not qualified to comment on surely.

A good example of why MPs shouldn't publicly interfere in these matters is when she told The House & the populist PM, that as there were two deaths, this just amounted to just over 4 years for each death. This wasn't a gunman who killed five people or two people with five or two separate and deliberate carefully aimed shots. When a road accident or crash occurs, any and all subsequent deaths are part of the same unintentional event. I am amazed that anyone should stand up in the House of Commons, especially at PMQs when the TV cameras are rolling and say something so un-researched on road safety and sentencing that it deserves to be challenged and worthy of the public scrutiny that her choice of time and venue invited. Luckily judges are trained to make these distinctions.

But let us really examine the offence of dangerous driving that MPs like Caroline clearly don't understand.

It is the only law, as well as its sister careless driving, that is based and relies totally on the evidence of hostile and unqualified witness subjective opinion. (See no fixed penalty for careless) In any other offence with long sentences, these witnesses would only be allowed to give evidence of fact and not opinion. The only witnesses of opinion would be expert witnesses in any other such trial. So for drivers, even the balance of evidence is severely reduced to the views of 'a competent driver'. In other words not an expert driver, but in effect any driver that drives. And on that we can put people away for 14 years. So you can be jailed for 14 years by the opinion of hostile non expert witness.

Caroline has now seen the anti driver bile, venom and viciousness all tweeting their support of her. Ironically these are an example of the kind of witnesses of whom I refer but as these people complain of how many idiot drivers there are, if they are correct then perhaps we should expect better evidence for jailing people then. So there is already hostility aplenty to convict drivers then. She has now seen examples of 'someone died so driver must be jailed' tweets.

But there is another kind of witness hostility which isn't anti driver at all. It is being hostile to anyone who does something you wouldn't try yourself. All drivers, suffer from that reaction including me. The slow driver who would never dream of overtaking the HGV is bound to resent those that do so because their own judgment was that it shouldn't be done. Should a crash occur, there will be a whole queue of judgemental hostile witnesses so there can never be a fair trial.

When I was on my advanced driver courses, in unmarked cars and totally exempt from the National Speed Limits, we had been trained to such a high level that at high speed we could come from nowhere and pass a whole queue of other drivers and disappear over the next hill. Those in the queue would have all had one thought. 'Mad man'. Now imagine us then being in a crash a couple of miles further on, those same people, who didn't witness the accident, would be called to give their hostile inexpert opinion of our manner of driving prior to the accident.

So MPs should ask whether long terms of jail should be based on the unqualified opinions of hostile witnesses at all before they call for more of it.

But please Mr Cameron, no more inexpert anti driver road safety grandstanding at PMQs. It isn't the time or place. 

1 comment:

  1. Mr Camoron aint a expert so he shuld stay qiute. Wot if the random jury are anti cylcing and lock up the driver fur life? Not vury fair.