I’ve just been robbed

By the Gardai…

I really really resent being given my first 2 points for driving 71 km/h on a dual carriageway in Waterford that has been given a 60 km/h “special” speed limit.  To be honest, I have no recollection of exceeding the speed limit on this road but I must have done it at some stage.  In my drive home at 60km/h today, I was actually beeped by 2 cars for driving so slowly. I would say the average speed on the road is closer to 80 km/h yet the bullshit pretense continues. I’d argue this in court but we have a thoroughly anti-democratic system in place, borrowed from our UK neighbors, that increases the number of points you receive if you attempt to defend your rights in court and fail. So if I defend myself I run the risk of doubling the points (or if the judge was really pissed off losing my license) for driving at 71 km/h on a FRIGGIN DUAL CARRIAGEWAY.

You don’t have to be a jurisprudence expert to see this is about one thing. Cash! Road traffic cameras skim cash from the public, distribute some to helicopter-owning private camera operators and the rest to the government’s coffers. Road safety authorities then tell us we’re lucky to be robbed.

The fine is especially odious when I am frequently overtaken by every other car using the road meaning that almost nobody obeys the 60 km/h limit with any regularity.  This is probably because it’s quite safe to drive faster and the only reason the camera vans & cop cars congregate there is to get some easy money. The incentive to drive slower is monetary and social stigma rather than safety or common sense. Now that the economy is in such a state, expect more convictions at lower speeds.

Thanks to Waterford city council who despite years of complaints and discussions about this speed limit on fora such as Up The Deise and boards.ie still have the 60 km/h limit in place.  Waterford is one of the few places you can drive 20 km/h faster on single lane twisty regional road following exiting a straight dual lane road. The oft cited reason for the 60 limit is that there are (very wide) walkways beside the roads. Pedestrians can walk on twisty regional roads also without any walkways but at much greater risk to themselves and motorists. It’s not a reason that bares scrutiny.