Sunday, 15 May 2011

Speed Awareness Course - Part 1

I took part in the new Ford Focus launch in February.  It took place "oop north" near Rotherham, based at the Magna Science Centre.

All New Focus

The day was structured with classroom sessions around a drive section.  The drive followed a predefined route that was followed with a clever thingy that used GPS and the car's speakers to tell me about the features of the vehicle and give me directions.

Before the drive we were paired up for the drive and received a safety briefing that reminded us not to speed.  We were told there were speed cameras en route and the police had been advised of our route specifically.

I wasn't worried as I had no intention of speeding.

My drive partner drove the first half of the route and after an extended halfway break I took over the driving.  At this point I was having a conversation, driving an unfamiliar car, listening to a description of vehicle features and also driving instructions and directions.  I was of course also paying attention to speed limits.

It was a good day and the new Ford Focus is very impressive.  I think it might be my next car, in Candy Red.

Anyway, two weeks later I received details of a speeding ticket.  I knew it couldn't possibly be mine so I queried the time of the ticket.  It tallied with the time I was driving.  I asked whether there was a photo and was told that there was but it wouldn't show who was driving.

I even went as far as trying to re-drive the route using Google Streetview to spot speed limit signs because I was so convinced I hadn't exceeded the speed limit.  As  didn't know the area well this last desperate attempt proved to be futile as it was too difficult to recall the route and "drive" it online.

Either South Yorkshire Police had screwed up, or I had.  Respect for authority and an acknowledgment of my fallibility meant I completed the paperwork that acknowledged my guilt.  Guilty of travelling at 36mph in a 30mph limit (except I still think it must have been a 40mph limit).

I was offered the option of a Speed Awareness Course at a cost of £80 and no points or I could take the three points and pay a £60 fine.  I opted for the former.

After explaining that a course in Rotherham wasn't that convenient I was offered a course in Kent.  The admin involved in booking the course was quite painful and frustrating.  Despite completing a form with my details and returning it I received a confirmation addressed to the wrong person and with the wrong offence date.  The name was a small mistake, but if you're doing this because of an offence it's important the details are correct.  The offence date error wasn't an error at all, simply the only way the Kent system could process my information.  I was told "not to worry" but I wasn't very comfortable.  In the future would someone understand that the Kent system doesn't work properly and doesn't always have a record of the correct offence date?  After several telephone calls with perhaps the most patronising man ever, I gave up and paid my money.

A few months later I went on the course...


1 comment:

Rana said...

I really don't like cliffhangers.

I also don't like speed cameras.

Actually I wouldn't mind speed cameras if the penalty was proportionate to the danger caused to other road users.