Parking and road signs
I watched Tonight with Trevor McDonald today, something I don't normally do.
I only watched it because Neil Herron was making a guest appearance and I'm an admirer of his work. Neil's appearance was, unfortunately, brief but long enough to be worthwhile appearing and he doesn't look half as rough on the telly as he does in the newspaper mugshots!
Aside fromt he parking regulations, there was a speed camera expert and some very handy advice on speeding tickets.
The speed camera expert showed a parked car doing 8mph and a car doing 29mph clocked at 36mph proving that speed cameras can be wildly inaccurate, even when calibrated and used strictly according to the manufacturers guidelines. In fact, the expert had more time and was using the camera under controlled conditions unlike a policeman on the side of the road.
One think that I found interesting was the law around road signs. There is a set of guidelines on how a road sign has to look and if it doesn't strictly meet them the sign is not legal and is unenforcable. One of them specifically pointed out was one that is in abundance in Telford - a bright yellow board with the speed limit sign mounted on it. The guidelines say a speed limit sign is a round white sign with a red band around it and black numbers in the centre. They even give measurements. Nowehere do the guidelines mention a bright yellow surround and the sign will therefore be illegal.
Things such as this may seem to be nitpicking and maybe even encouraging speeding but there is an important principle at stake. Would you expect to get away with building an extension to your house that didn't meet your planning permission? Even if you argued that you didn't realise that what you were doing was unlawful? Of course you wouldn't so why should local authorities be exempt from the same stringent application of the law? It's not difficult - the British government produces a booklet which tells you how the signs have to look. If the local authority or their (expensive) contractors can't apply the law correctly to a road sign then they cannot expect to apply the law to any "infringement" of the road sign.
It is important that the state is subject to the law in the same way and to the same extent as the people. This is one of the basic cornerstones of the law of this land and the principle was established way back with the Magna Carta and Bill of Rights.