The three E’s

March 7, 2012 7:05pm Published by Jules Smith in The Art Philosopher 35 Comments

Right, so I got done for speeding.  The second time in a month in all the years I’ve been driving.  It seems to be that cameras are appearing left right and centre which just makes me want to trade my car in for a push along scooter. YES, I mean the ones that kids have!  Driving has become no fun and I am constantly on the look out for speed traps and the sound of my ever pinging ‘sat nav’ alerting me to the fact there are obviously plenty camouflaged  in hedgerows of which I am unaware.  I was extremely annoyed to have received another fine in the post and three more points to add to my sullied license, which at this rate could be taken off me in 4 months.  However, there was an option to attend a ‘ Drivers aware course’ instead, releasing you from your points if you spent half a day listening to them.
“Can’t be that bad”  I imagined “And I’m sure it’s free”
I thought about it for a while because I can’t sit still for 20 minutes never mind a whole 4 hours but figured it would be an experience.  I sent my letter back indicating my preference of attending said course and a week later I received instruction on how to book it online.
“ Blah, blah, name and address..uh huh…”  I typed.
“ Enter my personal speeding code..OK, right….choose date…yep, I’ll go for that one in a few weeks” I said out loud to my Mac.
“ Morning or afternoon…hmmmm….7am?!!  ERRRRR are you kidding me! PFFFT..let’s go for afternoon, OK 12.15, that’s better, although..” I  mused “I’m sure someone mentioned you get croissants at the morning one…”  I am easily distracted and tempted by cake like fodder.
“ No, no, it’s too early.. proceed to booking and payment…HUH? EH? PAYMENT? ….NINETY POUNDS!  N.I.N.E.T.Y POUNDS!!”  I have to say I was outraged and close to calling the police there and then and demanding the right to change my mind and go for the points and the £60 fine instead.  Apparently it USED to be free, but like most things it’s been farmed out to the AA (no, not alcoholics anonymous) and now costs the same price as a Ryan Air ticket to Venice.
On the day of the event I was not in the best of moods at having to attend this 4 hour berating that had cost me a small fortune for just going 6 miles over the speed limit.  I waited in the queue of eclectic mix of speeding criminals as Mr AA  jobsworth, with his yellow lanyard and official clipboard ordered us to sign the register and produce our licenses.  We then proceeded into a meeting room with tables and chairs where I made a beeline for the back seat for a quick exit if necessary/possible/if I could contrive a way to escape.
At this point our lady presenter introduced herself in a high pitched, shrew like manner and indicated that if you did not finish the full course you would be in trouble with the police so no ‘disappearing’ to the toilet and not coming back.  They have their eyes.  Bit like the cameras then.  Damn.  I remember thinking what’ funky’ tights this lady was wearing for her age and yet she appeared to have not brushed her hair or put any make up on.  Why would you not do that and yet wear jazzy tights?  I was perplexed by her behaviour but her shrill voice cut in again making me wonder how I was going to be able to listen to her for the next 240 minutes without getting ‘drivers aware course rage’.  It was at this time I started praying for a fire alarm in the hotel.  
She proceeded to tell us about the 3 ‘E’s and trying to evoke responses and guesses from the captive audience.  This is when you start to see who the know all’s of the group are, who like the sound of their own voice  and are likely to keep you at the event longer than necessary by asking pointless questions.  
“The three E’s”  she continued loudly are “ Education, Engineering and Enforcement” 
My mind began to wander as I took note of how many people were in attendance.  25 of us.   That’s 25x £90 = £2,250.00 PLUS there was one this morning.  They’ve landed 4.5 k in a day doing this.
“ Our intention is that you WILL ALL walk away with something from this course today” she boomed.
“Yep.  Probably having lost the will to live” I thought spitefully.
I began to scribble on my paper what my 3 E’s were:
Expect.  me to fall to sleep any minute.
Elect. someone who has a musical tone to deliver your presentations.
Evian.  is not going to see me through the afternoon.  The need for alcohol is great.
And on we journeyed through the worksheets and highway code.  Speed limits and hazards and so on.  Halfway through we were allowed a WHOLE 15 minute break where I had to buy the worlds most expensive and disgusting coffee and a packet of cheese and onion crisps which I chose deliberately so nobody would talk to me. 
In the next half of the session something happened to me.  I found I was paying attention.  I found myself finding more than one thing that made me stop and think and reconsider my moaning and whining and most importantly my speeding:
The national stats of just police reported accidents for 2010 were this:
All general accidents – 208,648
Killed in a year on our roads – 1,850
Seriously injured – 22,660
Now the seriously injured stat is the one that got to me most.  When they say ‘seriously injured’ they mean someone who has lost limbs or has spinal damage and will never walk again.  Maybe a child that has suffered serious brain damage. Not only are their lives ruined  but so are those that maybe have to give up their job to look after them and suffer forever seeing a loved one in this way.  That’s 22,660 in a year.  
25% of which are caused by speeding.  The single highest factor of road deaths than any other. 
69% of us exceed the limit of 30 MPH in urban areas where most road injuries and deaths occur.
Now, like me you may be thinking “I was only doing 36 miles per hour for goodness sake”
Let me tell you when you watch a video of someone being hit by mile at a time increments and the difference it makes, you would be shocked.
At 30 MPH you have an 80% chance of survival – That’s why it’s 30 MPH on urban roads.
At 35 MPH (known as the killing speed) it’s only a 50% chance of survival.
At 40 MPH (just 40) you only have a 10% chance of survival.
Look at your reasons for speeding and ask yourself this – If you were to hit someone’s child and cause a serious life changing injury or death do you think your reasons for speeding would satisfy the mother of that child?
So if you see me now, I’m the one driving at the precise limit, happily upsetting the tailgaters behind me, keeping a safe distance away from cars in front and being aware of what’s going on around me.  If you get the opportunity to go on this course then take it.  Alternatively I hope some of what I have said has made you think and you too will kill your speed.


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A pox on tailgaters! They add to the risk of an accident by not maintaining a safe stopping distance! What you need is a man with a wobbly arse to sit on your back seat and moon at drivers who get too close. Do you know a man with a wobbly arse?

HAHA! My friend died in the back of a car at 16 (that’s not the funny part, i know) because a chap in a lorry, 5 times over the limit, rammed in to the back of the car when it stopped at the traffic lights. My friend was being given a lift home, his girlfriend and girlfriend’s dad at the front, they were just injured and are okay… and my friend was a hilarious chap, it’s excellent to picture him mooning the lorry behind as a “back off” signal =D haha. Sadly he hadn’t a wobbly arse so it may not have worked =P

Mr Gorilla Bananas- No I don’t know one. In fact, having thought about it, I really don’t know if I am aware of any man with a wobbly arse. Generally tends to be women with this problem. I am now on the hunt for a wobbly arsed man – a mission!

Cherise – That’s a terrible tragedy. Awful 🙁

Your charm and talent are indelible, Jules, my dove….

Your charm and talent are indelible, Jules, my dove….

Why thank you David 🙂

hi jules, been on the course today and echo ur sentiments…..think we should ALL do this course brings home to u y there is such a fuss about speeding……val x well at least there will be 2 good drivers on the road

Yes Val, but YOU GOT COFFEE! How unfair! I have been told that some people get croissants! Yes it certainly brings it home to you doesn’t it.

They are just a bunch of hypocritical rule fetishists is what they are. And you had to pay 90 pounds to be treated like a child? That can’t be good.

Yes RCB they most certainly are! I’d be interested to know how much of the course money goes back into publicity campaigns for safer roads.

None of it, of course. We’re not gullible, now are we? 🙂

Where are you Juliette? Don’t tell me your on that island now?
Have a nice weekend!
– RC

Enjoyed the humour (first part) and appreciate the info/advice (second part).
Only in the past year has the speed been reduced from 40kmh to 30 in my neighbourhood – with speed bumps added for good measure.
Let those who wish to exceed the limits on every type of road curse and rage behind us!
(But, oh, my goodness – 90 pounds!!)

I know Beth, it is an extortionate amount of money. The police used to do it for free but now it’s farmed out I guess they have to cover the venue and the trainers etc. However, this will discourage people from doing it until they re at the “I’ve got too many points” stage.

Well now I feel positively shamed :(! Our speed limits seem to be increasing here and I never speed in town… though on the open interstate I tend to go all AutoBahn, and whatnot.

That’s how I felt at the end Angie, humbled! I think motorways/interstate are the safest roads with a lot fewer accidents due to their design, less hazards and everyone going in the same direction etc.

Beautifully written, I love the way you turned it around at the end and got something positive out of this.

Thanks Tony. The course certainly made me stop and think about my blase actions and how little I realised the amount of people killed by speed on urban roads. Truthfully, I’m usually up near the 40 mark which means if I hit someone they are 90% likely to die.

So, if I have too many tickets and still have a car then does it mean that I am rich? Because I dont think I can own a car if I need to pay 90pounds. This we call it as daylight robbery.

This is why getting a scooter is preferable! Cars are certainly becoming more expensive and less fun to drive for many reasons. Don’t get me started on parking tickets, I have a very poor relationship with Traffic Wardens!

I usually go 8 kilometers over the speed limit. I won’t do that now after reading your post. Thanks.

You’re welcome Belle. I think we all speed, it’s easy to do without realising and to be honest 30 MPH seems incredibly slow when you try and stick to it. I’m glad it’s made you think about it though.

thats alarming. i suppose it was a useful course after all.

Yes Jaya, aside from the long list of things I didn’t like about it, I managed to understand the reasoning behind.

Very well written Jules.
I would like to know how all of that revenue is split. £90 for “a course” seems excessive – almost criminal. Dick Turpin was hanged for lesser deeds.
You are correct -there is no fun in motoring any more. Everyone is getting in on the act of fleecing motorists. Garage workshops, the AA, Service Stations, Car Park “attendants”, Traffic Police, Big Brother Camera operators, Councils, Insurance companies, Airport parking, Railway parking, oh and not forgetting the criminally weird workplace parking levy that is being introduced by Nottingham City council.
The AA should be sticking up for motorists and acting as a pro-driver lobby group instead of figuring out how to get their noses deeper in the trough.

Thank you Ian. I too would like to know exactly how much goes back into road safety after paying for the venue and the trainers! I’ve started using the train more for longer journeys because of the expense of fuel, parking and the added stress of possible fines! I’m tempted to change to a smaller more economical city car for all these reasons. I guess the days of ever owning an Aston Martin are out of the window, I couldn’t possible drive one of those at 30 MPH! Unless for posing purposes obviously.

I never speed. And now, I almost never drive. PEDAL POWER

The future is in cycling KG! You’re setting a good example!

You only speed when the wind’s behind you right?

I hate those who tail too close and sit on my ass in traffic… but what I hate even more are those people who use MY safe following distance as an opportunity to cut the line, forcing me to slam on my brakes and defeating the purpose entirely.

Sounds like you got your 90 pounds worth :))

I had to go on one of them awareness courses a couple of years back (it’s gone up a tenner!)

Like you, I approached it with cynicism and apathy but ended up realising that speed does actually kill/maim/disfigure. Hopefully I’m a better driver now, but it’s quite easy to fall back into old habits.

Did they show you the stop-motion film with toy cars, reconstructing a real-life huge accident in fog on the M4 (I think it was the M4)? Harrowing stuff.

Safety aside though, I still think speed cameras are mainly a revenue generating exercise.

Masher – Yes I saw the M4 video – that was awful.

I’ve always been one of those annoying people who always drive on the speed limit 🙂

I can’t handle breaking rules! How sad is that!

I am in awe of your greatness Deirdre!

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