The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Motoring News

I did a bit of traffic the other day. Most of the work was for the usual trinity of No Insurance No Licence and No MoT, and there were some speeding cases where the speed was too high for a fixed penalty, as well as a sprinkling of Without Due Care and Attention cases.
All of the speeders were over 100 mph, and we disqualified in every case, from 14 to 56 days depending on the circumstances. All but one were in a 70 limit, but the odd one out was doing 74 in a 30! Inevitably he was on a motorbike, but he won’t be riding it for the next six months.
Where people were driving uninsured and the offence was aggravated by their having no driving licence, we disqualified for about two or three months, except in the several cases where it was a second offence, which pushed them over the 12 points that earn you a six-month ban.
London being the city that it is, a good proportion of the uninsured were recent immigrants. Some just did not know (or claimed not to know) that a foreign licence can only be used in the UK for a finite time before taking a test, so an Afghan licence that has been relied upon for six years won’t do. There is a particular problem with asylum seekers, because they do not have the ID documents that DVLA requires before issuing a licence. Those who work often do dirty jobs at unsocial hours and inevitably want to drive in order to get to work. Human nature being what it is, and with old bangers available for a small fistful of readies, many of them take a chance and drive. Since it has to be in the public interest to see that drivers are properly licensed and insured there really ought to be some kind of interim licence available to those whose immigration status is still being considered. The Daily Mail wouldn’t like it though.