Saturday, 26 April 2008

The news

Britain's most persistent motoring offender was jailed for eight months today after his 51st conviction for driving while disqualified. Jamie Manderson, 35, was also given another driving ban, this time for five years, after he pleaded guilty before magistrates in his home town of Swindon.


The son of a multi-millionaire who caused a toddler permanent brain damage in a 70mph horror crash has escaped the maximum jail term for dangerous driving.

Antonio Singh Boparan, 21, was jailed for 21 months after causing a crash while speeding at 72mph in a 30mph zone in November 2006, which left one-year-old Cerys Edwards fighting for her life with horrific injuries. The toddler, now two, has been left paralysed, permanently brain damaged and needing a ventilator just to stay alive.

Mr Boparan had pleaded not guilty to one count of dangerous driving but was found unanimously guilty by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court earlier this month. He will serve less than 11 months of his 21-month sentence in jail before being released on license. Boparan was also disqualified from driving for five years.

Traffic police numbers have been drastically cut over the past decade, bad driving is at epidemic levels, and the cops are fretting about…

A website which publishes registration plates of "bad drivers" could lead to vigilantism, police have said. The site's founder Andrew McGavin, from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, said more than 11,000 reports of alleged road offences have been logged.

He claimed the problem of bad drivers was not being taken seriously by the government. He added drivers appearing on the site can contest any complaint. But police said people should report road offences to local officers.

On the drunken driver front:

Drink drivers would no longer automatically lose their licences under government plans to lower the alcohol limit for motorists to the equivalent of less than a pint of beer or glass of wine. Those caught driving over the new limit would be subject to a “two strikes and you’re out” rule under which they would receive six penalty points for the first offence and only be disqualified from driving if they reoffended within five years.

Road safety groups fear that abolishing the automatic ban will send a confusing message to motorists and encourage some to risk drinking and driving because the consequences of being caught would be less serious than they are now.

The Daily Mail, meanwhile, is worried about

a draconian shake-up of road safety laws.

Motorists caught going well over the limit would receive six points - double the current penalty - and a £100 fine. It would mean that under the totting-up scheme, they would lose their licences by reaching the 12-point maximum after just two convictions.

Novelist Nicholas Blincoe lays into the Green mayoral candidate for being too soft:

Just because you are called Green, does not make you Green, as Sian Berry proved at the mayoral hustings on Thursday. Unprompted, she declared herself in favour of Ken Livingstone's plan to remove the congestion charge from 68 brands of car. Every other party has denounced the scheme as a blatant election bribe. As they should: though it is dressed-up as an emissions tax, it is actually a giant emissions permit.

According to the Evening Standard, there are an estimated 80,000 cars in the south-east of England. Now the mayor is encouraging everyone of them to buzz up to capital and fart in our faces. A Carnival of Emissions - and the Green party thinks this is a good idea (as a "temporary measure", Berry added, to bewilder us further. Just until the brine has worked, perhaps?)