Driving back up the M50 tonight to my place of residence I couldn't help but notice I was really driving rather fast. Somewhat above the 120 km/h speed limit, in fact. I didn't feel remotely bad about this as there was absolutely no traffic around and my car felt well able for it. However, I was in no particular rush, as is sometimes the case when I break speed limits. More often than not though, I'm simply thinking it would be nice to have a cup of tea/ browse the net/ watch TV/go to bed/ see my ladyfriend ten minutes or so earlier than I would be able to do these things if I stuck to the speed limit.
All of which got me thinking: Do only assholes speed? Do only assholes, plus me, speed? Am I an asshole? It has been pointed out to me recently that I'm starting to become the kind of driver I've always given out about - speeding, lane-hopping for quick overtakes, tailgating (I really think I don't do that one but I'm told otherwise), even the occasional use of the phone. I recognise these things as wrong and try not to do them, but can't help wondering how others feel about the speeding issue. Doesn't everyone do it to some extent? Should we have laws more like Germany, where on parts of the autobahns you can do whatever bloody speed you want? Or are Irish people in general too incompetent as drivers to be trusted with that? It strikes me that people drive whatever speed they feel reasonably comfortable at, rather than what they are told to, particularly when its late at night and there is zero chance of being caught by a speed trap.
Which brings me to my next point: http://www.independent.ie/national-news/twothirds-of-speeding-drivers-get-off-the-hook-1367599.html
Recent figures showing that two thirds of drivers caught speeding get away without paying the fine or receiving any penalty points, simply by claiming they never got the summons of fine notice. Now, does this not make everyone incredibly ashamed of both our government and our police force? (Actually, mostly just the government, I'm certainly of the opinion that the average garda on the street is doing a wonderful job.) To me it just beggars belief that this can be the case. And it will surely get worse, now that the less cute whoors out there have been made aware of just how easy it is to get away with it. Despite my casual approach to speeding I have yet to be caught. But I fully accept that it will happen and, when it does, I believe I will hold my hand up and say "Fair cop guv". I really do think I hold the attitude of "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."
This debate is already raging over at the Indo link I posted above but, if you're not speeding away already, I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this topic. Do you speed too? Does Brian Cowen speed? Is this speeding fine shambles the kind of thing that should bring down a government? Do we need a more liberal approach to speeding or a more zero-tolerance one? Am I just an asshole?