Recently, on this page, I wrote about how I ended up in a speed awareness course after my little hiccup on a road outside Carrickfergus.
I had no case to answer and the course cost me £89. As a result I will not have three points on my driving licence so I wasn’t complaining and I did find the course interesting.
However, the News Letter reported this week how 10,000 drivers caught speeding on Ulster’s roads in the past three years got away scot-free.
Apparently there’s a loophole in the law that stops the PSNI pursuing the offenders outside the jurisdiction. Most of those offenders were from the south of Ireland.
In total, they dodged fines worth more than £600,000. Is Sinn Fein not complaining about this loss of revenue? After all look at how many hip replacements that would do if the money was donated to the NHS budget.
Do they care that southern Irish drivers can come up north and drive at 100 mph if they like in a 30mph zone and the law cannot touch them? Has the SDLP not got something to say either?
In fact what are the non-nationalists parties doing about it. I haven’t heard a squeak from the DUP or UU parties either.
Only TUV leader Jim Allister is calling for something to be done. This week he’s also accused Sinn Fein of ``hypocrisy’’ over its call for special adviser pay in Dublin to be capped – just months after killing off a proposal to do just that in Belfast.
But then Sinn Fein do well from special adviser pay (Martin McGuinness’s department has no less than four special advisers (Spads) whose salaries alone come to £297,790 a year – most of which they give to Sinn Fein. So you can see why they won’t be calling for caps on those salaries up here.
The South’s election was held yesterday (Friday) and the Shinners had a wonderful giveaway manifesto: abolish local property tax, prescription charges and water charges, extend maternity benefit by six weeks in year one, increase spending by £3.3bn to move towards universal healthcare and help to create 250,000 jobs in five years.
Naturally they disapprove of austerity in the south but have voted for it in the north. But then Sinn Fein live in Donald Trump land and they would need some of his billions to fund all their demands. If they got into power in the south they’d have the country under even worse financial pressure than it’s already in.
But back to those errant southern Irish drivers disrespecting our speed limits knowing they may not be touched by the law since they can’t be chased across the border and also knowing the PSNI cannot pursue outstanding fines outside Northern Ireland or the rest of the UK.
Isn’t there a way that such offenders could be apprehended in the south (i.e. by PSNI passing on their names to the Garda) and the south putting them through a speed awareness course? After all why wouldn’t they think they are untouchable if they can get away with it in the North? Speed, as the statistics show here, is one of the biggest cause of fatal road accidents on our roads.
In 2014 alone it was the main factor in more than 280 accidents in which 88 people were killed or seriously injured.
There’s scarcely a day when most of us don’t see drivers using their mobiles at the wheel, driving out of side roads on to main roads without stopping, driving well above the limit at the time and paying no regard to the current icy roads. This week I had to get out of the way of two young drivers outside Ballymena racing against each other. The last effort in 2013 to introduce mutual recognition of penalty points on both sides of the border came to nothing. Yet Enda Kenny proved to be a best pal of David Cameron in his Keep-us-in Europe endeavours over the past fortnight. Could he not now get all those errant drivers to pay their dues in the North?