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Driving At 159mph Is Safe

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Driving At 159mph Is Safe

Old 26th Aug 2006, 09:06
  #181 (permalink)  
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I wonder what the law was about 30 years ago
Entirely different. The present law dates to the 1988 Road Traffic Act.

Since the bench you wre so unimpressed with convicted and sentenced according to what was then the law, I am slightly puzzled as to what it is you are complaining about.
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Old 26th Aug 2006, 09:19
  #182 (permalink)  
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One has good cause to be angered by uneven sentencing in magistrate's courts. Having seen people disqualified, [about the same era] where there has been no accident or even excessive speed, then seeing the most diabolical bit of dangerous driving imaginable, and witnessing this goon show, WTF am I supposed to think? It was plain old boy network...or worse, if you get my drift.

Still, one is trying to get to sleep, so I don't want to get me knickers in a twist again tonight.
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Old 26th Aug 2006, 10:23
  #183 (permalink)  
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These guys were targeted and punished. Their 'skills' or job weren't considered.

extract: Richard Burns, who was reigning world champion when the 2002 rally was staged, was caught doing 83mph on a 70mph dual carriageway.
Burns, was fined £150 and given three points.

Loix was fined £1,750 and given a six-month ban after being caught seven times in the same stretch on the same morning.
He was clocked at speeds of up to 54mph in the 30mph zone.

McRae was caught doing 51mph and fined £150 and given three penalty points.


This case is rotten.
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Old 26th Aug 2006, 10:23
  #184 (permalink)  
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bjcc I agree it would be difficult to determine driving skills. I also take offence to Police drivers thinking that no member of the public has the required skills.

I'm not sure where we are getting these distances from, according to the Highway Code the stopping distance from 160mph is 1280 yards.

Travelling at 160 mph with your attention split between 1/3 forward the rest behind and to the side means in one minute of travel of the 4664 yards covered you are only looking ahead for 1554 yards.

On TV a Police patrol car on the M180 I think, had a tyre go at 120mph. The driver lost control and ended up spinning, luckily he hit no-one and no-one hit him. Now increase the energy to 160 mph.
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Old 26th Aug 2006, 10:29
  #185 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by yakker
I'm not sure where we are getting these distances from, according to the Highway Code the stopping distance from 160mph is 1280 yards.
The highway code is based on "worst case" scenario with added safety margins. The quoted stopping distances in this thread were from myself in an earlier post and are the theoretical physical best case in perfect circumstances and represent the absolute best that could be achieved.
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Old 26th Aug 2006, 11:03
  #186 (permalink)  
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Chox, thanks for that, it seems that other posters started to use your stopping distance as the definative one. Using the link, 160mph with a 0.8 coefficient and 0.2 sec reaction is over 350 yards. But the court would ask you the Highway Code distance, the actual distance would be somewhere in between.

Having had the odd crash (on the race track) I have been amazed at how far a vehicle out of control travels before comming to a halt. End over end for 4 times, climbed out unhurt, looked back at where I was punted off, a long way.
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Old 26th Aug 2006, 13:03
  #187 (permalink)  

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Some years ago returning home from my job at Heathrow on a Friday at 1600 hours I joined the M4 into traffic congestion where it was a constant brakes on and accelerate. After Junction 8/9 I saw that the cause was a couple of police vans, one on the middle lane and the other on the outside lane doing about 65 mph. After the Reading West junction I was now near the front of the queue and a Peugeot tried to overtake as these muppets were now both in the middle lane. As soon as he started to overtake the rearmost muppet steered in front of him to the outside lane. Naturally the Peugeot gave up.
As I was now number three and we were going up hill and now down below 65, I overtook the rearmost and was about to overtake the front muppet when he deliberately pulled out in front of me with about 2 feet between our bumpers. I moved back to the middle lane and for some three miles he remained in the outside lane probably waiting for me to undertake. After a time he pulled over and while I was in his blind spot I overtook and started to pull away. Next moment he was trying to overtake me!! At this point I hooted my horn and signalled him to pull over to the hard shoulder just by the Newbury junction. I then had a lot of lip from him and his friend whilst all the tidal wave of traffic managed to get past. I went down to file a formal complaint to the local police HQ. I believe that they are still pounding the beat.
To the police chaps on this thread, you have as many muppets in your difficult job as the average punter and I still report speeding police cars who do over 85 sticking to the outside lane. You want to speed, use the lights and siren. If you want to be paranoid about speeding, don't be surprised when the public start the same thing. Inappropriate speed killsand often 30 in a 30 zone is too fast, never mind 90.
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Old 26th Aug 2006, 14:58
  #188 (permalink)  
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it's more than likely been said already...but .... if you ever watch them 'motorway patrol' type programs, the police always pull some one over who tries to explain that he has been driving for years, has never had an accident and more importantly the vehicle is designed to be driven like it has been doing...blah blah blah!
the policeman always says that it's not the car or maybe the driver, it's other road users actions that causes the problem in the first place...
ie.. a car, quite legally may i add, overtaking another, and as he looks in his mirrors to see if it is safe to do so, spots pc plod at a fair distant away but doesn't realise that he is driving over twice the speed limit and therefore will make ground on him twice as fast as normal....
so when pc plod was driving this car at almost 160 mph was the road completely clear of other motorists? because it must be the only road in britain that is!!!
get him away from his fancy cars and walking the beat again (if ever!)
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Old 26th Aug 2006, 17:56
  #189 (permalink)  
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IMHO (general, not specific to this case), driving at 159 mph on a public road is not necessarily dangerous. It may or may not be, depending upon the particular stretch of road and the conditions prevailing at the relevant time.

The driver's experience and any qualification should be taken into account when a court decides if he is guilty of dangerous driving, but not in speeding cases.
If it is to be the law that driving over a specified speed is necessarily (or even prima facie) dangerous driving regardless of time, place and conditions, then the law should say so, specifying the amount above the speed limit.
The examples in Cheerio's link were all speeding offences. I think setting up that speed trap was probably silly, and the magistrates seem to have gone OTT with disqualifications. The 12 month band appears to have been under our iniquitous penalty point/totting up procedure by which motorists may be punished twice for the same offence - in contrast to people who commit criminal offences in the proper sense of the word who are only punished once.

It would not be difficult for a court to make an assessment of the driver's skill and experience.
It would do so on the evidence called. Except in overwhelmingly obvious cases, it would probably be necessary for a driver wishing to rely on his skills as part of his defence to call evidence from others in support of his claim.
Courts (lay magistrates and juries) regularly make assessments as a matter of course when deciding guilt or not. eg 'Due' in driving without due care and attention. 'Dangerous' in dangerous driving. 'Reasonable' in self-defence. 'Dishonest' in numerous offences under the Theft Act.

I agree the Police Federation is not a union in the conventional sense, but whether it is toothless is obviously a matter of opinion.
In relation to disciplinary proceedings, the Federation funds members' defence and employs specialist and highly competent solicitors and barristers experienced in police discipline proceedings to defend their members.
I don't suggest for a moment that means justice is always achieved but that's not the fault of the federation.
Contrary to popular belief, the police dealing with their own internal discipline matters isn't a 'whitewash' procedure - far from it. The 'conviction' rate is undoubtedly high, and the penalties can be harsh. However, in those cases where a 'guilty' decision was IMHO unfair on the evidence, I'd say the fault often lies in an attitude prevalent amongst some policemen that anyone accused is almost certainly guilty, is just trying to 'get off', often with a lying story and/or by using a lawyer to find some technicality.
It's an unfortunate and very unfair attitude. It's an attitude which you've consistently demonstrated you have, in 'legal' threads in this forum over the years. You almost invariably take the prosecution side - although you have been known to make exceptions where the person accused is a policeman.

"no-one likes to hang a copper more than another copper."
That may be true. It certainly can be difficult to find defence witnesses amongst people still in the job.

"More to the point, nothing angers an honest PC more than somebody who tries every angle to get off something."
As I was saying to bjcc .......

I can understand the lack of sympathy for this policeman. I'm no fan of traffic police who have no compunction about reporting drivers for speeding in circumstances where, although they were exceeding the speed limit, there was no risk of harm to anyone. Pointing that out to a traffic policemen is almost invariably a complete waste of breath and energy and runs the risk of then having to listen to their much loved mantra of "If you'd been to the accidents I've been to ...... blah blah blah." (Yes, that is intended to be dismissive.)


Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 26th Aug 2006 at 18:23.
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Old 27th Aug 2006, 03:21
  #190 (permalink)  
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I presume the discription of internal discipline is for everyone elses benifit, if not, why bother telling me what I already know.

The Police Federation is toothless in that, in many of the disputes with Goverment, apart from objecting loudly, there is nothing more they can do. Examples being the hike in Police pension contributions to 11% of salary. The Federation objected, for good reason, and were ignored. When HMG tried the same with the Fire Service, a threat of strike action led to the raise being withdrawn.

Similar applies to the Shehy Enquiry. Although some of the recomendations were not taken up by Goverment, many that were detrimental to Police Officers were. Had that been done in any other industy, the result would have been strike action.

The odd exeption you refer to does not always include Police Officers. I seem to recall the guy aquitted for drunk on an aircraft recently, where you allagation falls flat on its face. Also, I have recounted several times presenting evidence, where I knew dam well the accused was inocent, only to see them convicted on the false evidence of memebers of the public. That doesm't fit with your theory.

Without wishing to get into a peeing contest, you arn't exactly unbiased in your opinions either, witness the attack on the Man Officers who breath tested 2 pilots, on the basis of a press report (many others of which you are happy to caution the accuracy of) you condemed thier actions.

In this particular case, I do think that the conviction is wrong. I say that because if the first time you have to drive at that sort of speed is 'in anger' then there is far greater danger. If the car swerves left under heavy breaking, I want and need to know that before I have to do in traffic. Also, because I agree with your comments about if excess speed is to be considered dangerous per say, then legislation should say so.

The difference between a speeding motorist and a Police Officer driving at speed, is the motorist does not have to do it. A Police Officer does, and it makes snese to ensure that when you do, you know how the car reacts.

Since this guy was caught, the rules have been changed. It has been commented on here, that now if practice is needed an instructor has to be with you. Great, how does that change things? appart from make the car more balanced?
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Old 27th Aug 2006, 11:08
  #191 (permalink)  
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How it changes things bjcc, is the great unwashed middle class supporters of the police would say 'instructor on board, neccessary training, let them get on with it'. No instructor on board, great unwashed middle class say 'copper who thinks he is above the law being dangerous idiot on joyride, magistrates fecking idiots, must go to same lodge'.

One enjoys your spats with FL. What it proves to me is that if your roles were reversed a lawyer would find a reason not to arrest anybody even if they committed a crime in front of them, and policeman would never acquit.
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Old 27th Aug 2006, 13:10
  #192 (permalink)  
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Slim Slag

I mention the instructor bit, only because if anything with an instructor on board, a police driver will probably drive faster. The reason being thats the way the training is conducted, you drive at the maximum, that is safe. In the case of this officer, one of the defence witnesses, an advanced course instructor, apparently said he saw nothing unsafe, I would suggest therefore had an instructor been aboard the officers driving and speed would have been no slower.

Taking into account there are few instructors, they work office hours, I don't think the instruction achieves anything.

I accept the opinion you discribe exists, along with an element of envy from others. Then again, there is also an opinion among some that police use blue lights to get back to the nick for tea, it may happen, but I never saw it. Just the same as 'police speeding for jollies' may go on, again I didn't see it.

As for FL, like all good Barristers, he presents what suits to prove his point. But, I doubt he shares the attitude you suggest that lawyers never think prosecution is justified, any more than I, or any Policeman think that everyone is guilty. It just seems that way.
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Old 27th Aug 2006, 13:28
  #193 (permalink)  
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Having read the stuff posted on here, I am happy to accept you were a good copper, and FL is a good barrister. The different approaches you both bring to the subjects on here are very entertaining and educational.

What is apparent to me in this case is that both the magistrates are feckwits. That is more worrying than a copper trying it on.
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Old 27th Aug 2006, 14:02
  #194 (permalink)  

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Seems to me the whole "speed kills" policy in UK is flawed. It is NOT always unsafe to drive at a higher speed than the posted limit, especially as the limits are quite often inappropriately set. On the other hand, it is not always safe to drive as fast as the posted limit. However, for the general public, absolutely no discretion is allowed.

What is 'getting up my nose' about this case is the fact that this policeman apparently believes he is above the law because of the uniform he wears. By his own admission he was not familiar with the vehicle. Should he have been driving it at such a high speed on public roads? Are his anticipation of road hazards and reaction times so much better than another highly experienced driver? How about a Formula 1 or a rally driver? Or me? Do the laws of physics apply differently to him? This policeman obviously believes so. We have a government relentlessly pursuing the motorist regarding speed limits. It must be shown to correctly apply the law or lose credibility with the motoring public in general. The chief constable of this policeman's force obviously believes so, too.
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Old 27th Aug 2006, 14:50
  #195 (permalink)  
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As one of those that flies at any hour of the day or night, therefore will be driving to or from the airport at any time I am concerned that people seem to assume the roads empty at any time. I was out for an 0300z take off the other day, so left home a little before 0300 local, about the quitest time of night. I came round the corner to see two other cars out and about in one small area of residential street. There can be a remarkable amount happening on the roads at the most ridiculous times. If it was safe to drive at 90 mph at any time of night for any person in a road-legal car, then the 30 mph limit is the wrong limit for the road.

I've been along a 30 limit road at 60, at 2 in the morning. Before I get jumped on, I wasn't driving. That was a straight road, very good by 30 limit standards, probably should have been 40, but even then it was not a good speed. More than this would have been ludicrous, especially at a time when people can be drunk and hard to see.

Interesting to consider the car he was in too, a Vectra. I assume others saw the test drive Jeremy Clarkson did on a recent extremely fast Vectra. Even the latest, fastest Vectra basically cannot be effectively steered at high speeds. So linking with ShyTorque's comments on the officer not knowing the car, I cannot agree with G-CPTN's assertion that anticipation and escape paths will allow the driver to be safe. How could he guarantee to actually be able to use them, in a car that habitually carries straight on when steered at speed?
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Old 27th Aug 2006, 18:11
  #196 (permalink)  
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A well-known (but I forget who) professional driver once observed:-

"At speeds up to 120mph you're steering your car, above that, you're aiming it".
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Old 27th Aug 2006, 18:14
  #197 (permalink)  
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Personally I think if the police are exceeding the speed limit for any reason they should have at least their blue lights flashing and the siren on if they see others around who need to stay out of their way. That should include practising and 'familarising' themselves with a vehicle.

Then the public would be aware that a vehicle is approaching them at abnormal speed.

If the policeman had been cleared for high speed practise on a particular occasion then he would be covered for any complaints from the public for noise, etc. It would also mean that police chiefs would be careful as to when and where they allowed this practising.
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Old 27th Aug 2006, 18:25
  #198 (permalink)  
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It may get up your nose that Police can exceed speed limits, and have to to respond in a way the public wants. In order to do that, like it or not, they have to be in practice. Race tracks/Old Airfileds etc are NOT representative of the roas surfaces found on public roads, nor are they available all the time and everywhere.

You ask if Police drivers, specificly this one have better reaction times and abilities than the avarge driver. The answer is yes. Ok, I anticipate your next point as being I would say that wouldn't I. And yes, I would, based on experience and given that even with the type of driving Police do, they still have far fewer accidents than the rest of the population.

In oder to maintain that, and reduce it, an officer has to be in current practice, and be able to anticpate what the car will do. Tuned In makes the point that in Jeremy Clarksons view the Vectra is difficult to steer at speed. When would you rather that was discovered? At 3am, when it is safe to practice, or in the middle of the day when there's another vehicle in the way? The driver of an emergency vehicle needs to be able to anticpate what speed he can drive at safely, and where the vehicle will go with a given steering imput at speed. He needs to know what will happen if he brakes at speed, and even how long the brakes will work for effectively for (On Rover 3.5's it wasn't long!)

Every car is different, and reacts differently, and if its a car he's not driven before, then testing at speed is in reality a safer option than finding out in heavy taffic.

If the public want Police to drive within the speed limits then fine, I wouldn't have been bothered, it would mean not risking my licence, and the public would have to accept a much slower response than that they get now.

On the other hand, if they want prompt Police response, then they have to accept,without envy, hat Police (And the other 2 Emergency Services ) have to practice, or have more accidents.

Finally, F1 and other track drivers drive in a different way, that would be inappropriate on a road, just look at thier positioning for a bend, and then imagine doing that on your local high street. Also remember they are all going the same way, no one is pulling out of a side road and there are no pedestrians.
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Old 27th Aug 2006, 18:43
  #199 (permalink)  
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What is apparent to me in this case is that both the magistrates are feckwits.
Er - make that District Judges please.
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Old 27th Aug 2006, 18:43
  #200 (permalink)  
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how long the brakes will work for effectively for (On Rover 3.5's it wasn't long!)
I did some brake development on the Rover 3.5. I considered the brakes 'dangerous' considering the performance level of the car. (The standard set-up WASN'T my responsibility, I was trying to improve it.)
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