Three points on my driving licence with a £60 fine, or a four hour speed awareness course costing £82. Not really a choice, so I went for the speed awareness course.
The only convenient course I could fit in happened to be at a centre close to my ‘offence site’ at Wolseley Bridge. Poetic justice?
I need not have worried about my other participants. The average age must have been 50 and I reckon at least half were retired. So much for the boy racers! Actually this myth was quickly dispelled as either they are not offered the option of the course or their insurance premiums are so prohibitive that they are far more cautious about their driving speed.
I don’t really have a view about the fairness of speed cameras. Speed limits are there for very good reasons and I was caught out doing something I shouldn’t have been doing – driving too fast. It seems we all want speed limits outside our own houses enforced, but are prepared to speed outside the homes of other people.
When asked the question “what would life be like if people chose to obey only those laws they agreed with”, one wag replied France!
None of us were in flash, sporty cars. There were a few Mercedes and BMW drivers, but these were in family saloon type cars.
The course was actually very interesting. The presenters certainly knew their stuff, although the presentation style of one of them was a bit bombastic. Every sentence ended with “yes?”, “am I not right?” or “do you agree?’. To which we either nodded, muttered “yes” or chanted “you are”! We were lectured at - in an interactive way - and every now and then he would target one of us with a question but not give any thinking time. Strange when confronting a bunch of oldies! Sometimes a fellow participant would give the wrong answer and you could almost see them slide down in their chair in shame.
None of us knew that a STOP sign was octagonal.
However, the course was very worthwhile, and, in parts almost enjoyable. It was perhaps half an hour too long. Even with a couple of short breaks it was difficult to concentrate for four hours, and I feel that the same end would have been achieved with a slightly shorter course.
I think the ‘law of diminishing returns’ is a good parallel to draw.