Today, the 22nd May 2011, is a very special day in my motoring diary. It’s the first day for about 35 years, where technically, I no longer have any points on my driving licence!
From that pants-moistening day back in 1975, where I was caught in Catford, South London, doing 52 in a 30 (eeek!), in my 848cc Mini, by a real policeman (no cameras back then!) – and the joy of driving home at 29.9 mph to tell my Dad, and more scarily, my Mum, that I’d been caught speeding. I was now officially a criminal!!!
Things never got much better, and just as soon as those original three points were about to drop off, a combination of fate and more specifically, a heavy right foot, meant they were now replaced with a shiny new set – oh joy!
Over the years that followed, I managed to lose the three, gain three, lose them, gain them, as a regular hobby. Unlike stamp-collecting as a hobby, my wallet took a serious beating and so did my car insurance. Not to mention an ear-bending from those close to me!!!
Things got really bad when I bought my twin-turbo Supra in 93 – a beast of a car – 320bhp, 0-60 in a round the same time as a motor bike – and a real ‘pig’, sorry, ‘police’ magnet. Oh what fun we had with that car! With the introduction of more speed cameras, ‘6’ became my favourite number for many, many years, as I seemed to find it hard to spot the warning road-signs (and more specifically) the actual cameras, populating our roads.
Just as I was beginning to accept that 6 points would be there forever, and in spite of a more mature driving style, things were about to take a nasty turn for the worse!
After driving around very sensibly for many, many years and keeping those extra points at bay, a momentary lapse of concentration early one morning, on the way to a client in Milton Keynes, saw me ‘streak’ past a camera in Wellingborough at 34 (in a 30). Bummer – my favourite number was now 9!!!
Cripes! Did that change my driving style or what! There was nothing better than the threat of losing my Licence, to tame my right foot. For the next few years, I drove around like a granny (sorry, Granny!), paranoid I was going to get caught again.
Time for some drastic action in the shape of one of those camera detector devices for the car. In the end , I settled for a Road Angel – and to this day, it’s been a very reliable bit of kit. Apart from that time in Daventry in August 2006 where a mobile van caught me minutes after setting off, and the Road Angel didn’t detect the laser-gun for some reason (I now know it was because at the time, the device didn’t sense MOBILE traps – it does now!)
Technology moves on, and I shall be retiring that original unit this week and upgrading to a newer version, now that my favourite number is ZERO!
Favourite job today? Sending my Licence of to DVLA for a makeover!