A tree caught speeding in Lincolnshire?
Yes it's true. And the police said it was travelling too fast to be allowed on a speed awareness course!
Sam Spruce was caught by a speed camera doing 73 mph in a 60 mph speed limit. Now I'm not proud of it (er... how truthful is this article going to be?) but 73 mph on a quiet country road late at night in the outback of Lincolnshire is certainly not an immoral thing to be doing. Given that I have an advanced driver's certificate and have been trained by the police themselves I am also generally vigilant on the roads and regard this as a minor mistake in getting caught.
Initially I was depressed and anxious when I was first informed of the allegation. I was hoping there had been no film in the camera or that some other glitch might occur to prevent further action being taken. But after I recovered from the initial shock of that dreaded official letter I was informed by a friend that they offer a speed awareness course instead of the fine and points nowadays. So I waited with some hope in my tree soul.
I responded to the allegation by admitting guilt, partly because it was true and partly because the risk of getting caught lying does carry a heavier penalty. I did consider saying it was the au pair who was driving and that she had been visiting friends before leaving the country. I know of two cases when this has worked with no questions being asked. Once when it was true and once when someone was genuinely mistaken. When the whole thing had blown over and they remembered it was not the au pair they couldn't bring themselves to volunteer the information to the police in spite of the fact they were very middle class and very respectful of honesty and the law. But the risk was too great and I admitted it. Of course statistically I believe the odds are high that the camera was not legally maintained and calibrated but try taking that one to court when the suppliers of the incriminating information will be your accusers. Not much hope there!
Eventually the reply from the police arrived in the form of a conditional offer of fixed penalty notice. I read it and there seemed to be no mention of a speed awareness course. I became glum. I continued examining the documents and read Page 2 the "Frequently Asked Questions
". This is the page illustrated here with the transcription below for the search engines and for your perusal if you want to know what the Lincolnshire police send out. My heart lifted as I read the question "Can I attend a speed awareness course as an alternative to a fine and penalty points on my license?
" Yippee - here is the possibility of doing something more constructive and healthier for all concerned than simply suffering a minor beating by our oppressive culture which achieves little more than to spread resentment and non compliance with the law. But as I read the answer my heart began to sink. However, it didn't get the chance to reach rock bottom. This prejudicial,
draconian, medieval, punitive culture
of ours (see Cascading Oppression
) had excelled itself again. The irony struck me as so ridiculous and laughable that I cheered up
no end. The answer essentially stated that this tree was going too fast to warrant a speed awareness course
Adding pretentious pompousness to the irony they stated that the "speed
" was travelling above the threshold. Very science fiction. But then you wouldn't expect intelligent people to work for the police, just pretentious self important oppressors. Here's something I wish I had read before admitting to the crime!