September 10, 2010

Q: When is a ban not a ban?

A: When it’s a bit inconvenient, apparently.

The nation reeled this week at the revelation that some bloke in Teeside has run up a staggering 54 penalty points without being relieved of his license.

Nor, it seems, is he the only one.

More than ten thousand others drove on obliviously well beyond the 12-points per three-year period mark.

It seems you stand a one in four chance of convincing the courts that not being able to motor around would constitute an “exceptional hardship” – thus relieving the authorities of their duty to ban you.

From a Clarksonian point of view, this is surely good news, easing the tedious burden of law observance, like Oxfordshire’s silent speedcams. But, oddly, not everyone’s happy.

The AA began life back in the early 20th Century with the noble aim of helping speeding motorists escape the law, but seems to have had a change of heart.

Andrew Howard of the AA told the Telegraph: “We seem to have forgotten that the purpose of the law is to inconvenience those who repeatedly break it.”

Yes, of course. It’s all coming back. Day one at law school: “Purposo legiorae inconvenientiatibus rumpotum habituares est” or, as one venerable professor of law once put it by way of analogy: the purpose of an angry bull is to charge at those who approach it.

Upon such fundamental principles our very civilization rests.

How do 54 penalty points in one year affect your insurance premium? No one’s seen fit to ask as yet, and far be it from Bankstone News to sink to the level of investigative journalism.


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