Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Penalty Points

The Irish Government has gone mad on thinking up ways to penalize the Irish citizen. One of these ways is awarding penalty points to drivers. There are 36 different driving offenses that can result in points on your license and if you clock up 12 in 3 years you are banned for six months. Some of the points are obvious, like no insurance and speeding (although driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol is not on the list) but others are more bizarre -
1. Driving a HGV or bus on outside lane on a motorway - does that mean they can't overtake? What if the car ahead of you is going at 10 miles an hour? Does the poor HGV or bus driver have to stay behind them for fear of getting a penalty point?
2. Failure to yield - to yield to what? There are already penalty points for 'Failure to yield right of way at a yield sign/ yield line' and 'Failure to comply with mandatory traffic signs at junctions' (which surely covers failure to stop at a stop sign, which is also listed) so what is this failure to yield you are going to get points for? Failure to yield to the government and hail the EU as your new god?
3. Driving without reasonable consideration - So if you curse at the person who has just driven out in front of you (failing to yield), you are going to get points? Maybe you haven't let anyone out of a side road, or smiled at the other drivers as you drive along. Is that being unreasonably inconsiderate? Seeing how they classify stopping in about ten different ways (failure to stop at stop sign, failure to stop for Gardai, failure to stop for traffic warden, failure to stop at junction) I am sure they could have thought up another ten reasons for being unreasonable - and giving points for it.
4. Driving a vehicle when unfit - What has physical aptitude got to do with this? So, you puff and pant a bit climbing the stairs, doesn't mean you can't drive perfectly safely! Oh, wait, maybe they mean a different kind of unfitness - like tiredness, mental or emotion disturbance, drugs, drink - but no! they would have said that if they meant it, wouldn't they?

Another thing that really bugs me is that in the ads on TV they say you get points for using a mobile phone (you don't, it is an offense to HOLD a mobile phone while operating a mechanically propelled vehicle) and for your passengers not wearing seatbelts, which again is untrue. You are responsible for the front passenger to wear a seat belt and for all back seat passengers under 17, but if you are driving someone over 17 then you can't get the points. It is ridiculous!

Barry: I have a moral objection to wearing a seatbelt and I will not wear the 'Man's' harness while traveling in your back seat.
Anne: Sorry Barry, I can't take you in the car then because I might crash it, and you would fly through the front window like a charging elephant and kills us all - which would be your fault - and to crown it all, I would get penalty points on my license.
Barry: Don't worry, I'm over 18.

Anyway, as this country is going to H**L, I thought I would offer some of my own suggestions for new penalty points: -
1. Listening to the radio while driving
2. Talking to passengers while driving
3. Well, gosh darn it, they are so annoying not wearing seatbelts, killing people in crashes and being distracting, let's make it an offense to drive with passengers in the first place!
4. Taking your eyes off the road
5. Putting on make up in your car
6. Driving in your pajamas
7. Driving in a good mood
8. Driving in a bad mood
9. Driving after eating (on a full stomach)
10. Driving without eating (on an empty stomach)
11. Honking your horn at dangerous drivers
12. Driving too slow
and lastly, my favorite...
13. Displaying 'baby on board' or other vacuous stickers on rear windows of cars (must be an incitement to road rage at the very least).

Check out the National Safety Council's (ha!) website for all the penalty points. It is a laugh.


Leppie said...

I agree with all your sentiments. The country has gone mad - i think its all a money making scam. I think I should run the country - I will initate more bank holidays - like dogday, leopardday, jungleday. i will reverse the penalty points on driving for my family but may impose other penalties instead - like hug leppie and feed leppie and compliement leppie. i think this sounds good.

Anonymous said...

I think the biggest driving offence (after all, it's the most distracting!) is Driving AND thinking!!! How can you drive safely when you might be thinking about other things (good and bad)? Instant ban from the road if caught thinking while driving (maybe they could bring out special scanners that could catch the culprits)

grumpy said...

I think what literature has gained, the law has lost. an excellant summary of the penalty points legislation and some of the obvious lacunae, the lack of precision in definitions etc. Keep up the good work

Inkpot said...

Thanks for the great comments Grumpy, Leppie and Anon. I forgot to mention that you should get 12 penalty points immediately for driving a car, because they are so dangerous and damaging to the environment, no one should be allowed drive them at all (unless they pay a heavy stipend to the government every time they start the engine)

Anonymous said...

I think we do pay a heavy stipend to the government already when we driving - VRT, VAT, motor tax, a huge chunk of tax on petrol, tolls, etc etc