I recently received a new photograph of me behind the wheel of my old motor. It’s a candid shot and I have the look of a man aghast at something, surprise fused with shock... and realisation.
It was taken by the police.
It’s a bit fuzzy because I was travelling at nearly 40mph; it would have been sharper at 30, and considerably cheaper.
The Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Sir Stephen House, actually sent me a letter warning me I faced a £1000 fine and six penalty points, while he reserved the right to have me brought before the courts and face having my licence suspended.
That was a bit of frightener but I was well impressed that I was caught at 5.45pm on the Friday and received Sir Stephen’s missive on the Tuesday morning. That is seriously efficient policing.
As it was I was fined £100 and given three points on my licence. I can’t grumble. I broke the law and there is a price to be paid.
My offence brought some mirth to those that know me, and my driving.
“Speeding? You? You’re the most boringly sedate driver on the roads...”
My record would seem to underline that, 41 years as a law-abding motorist, shattered by accelerating up a two-lane brae.
But what Sir Stephen’s letter did not tell me is the continuing punishment.
Obviously I have no wish to collect any more points and have become absolutely paranoid about adhering to speed limits.
This abidance to the British laws of the highway does, however, seem to miff an abundance of my fellow road users.
I may agree “twenty is plenty” on an empty stretch of urban thoroughfare, but the kid with the baseball cap who roared past me and screamed something about me being a “dangerous old (somethingorother)”obviously didn’t agree and gleefully celebrated his overtaking skills with an emphatic victory sign, waved repeatedly in my direction.
The driver pulling the caravan just simply shook his head as he then cruised past me.
However, Scottish justice is the best in the world so there was bound to be a “mobile safety camera unit” on a grass verge up ahead.
No. Not on this occasion.
I have since been peeped at doing 30 mph in a 30mph zone, overtaken umpteen times doing 40 in a 40 limit and, of course, watched cars and trucks hurtle past me while I sat in the inside lane of a motorway doing a “boringly sedate” 69mph.
I’ve even been overtaken by a bus on an approach to a village, with the driver making some sort of gesture to me, apparently flagging up he was in a hurry to one-handedly milk a cow.
There has never been a camera or speed gun to defend my consideration and road safety sense.
What I need is a bumper sticker that proclaims: “I was recently nicked for breaking the speed limit. I’m out of pocket and don’t want to run out of points. By overtaking me you will be breaking the law...”
This will not, of course, make those irritable tailgaters slow down but it might just reduce the amount of rude semaphore messages I now get on a daily basis.
I’ve paid for my offence, but I never realised there was a stigma attached to adhering to the letter of the law.