Friday, October 20, 2006

More ladders, less snakes

After many years of blameless motoring, it comes as a something of a shock to get shot in the back at 90mph by two of Essex's finest, skulking behind a bridge on the A120 on a perfectly clear day with little traffic around. Or so my friend tells me.

This set a train of thought running for a possible TMP policy: negative points on your license.

The marketing industry has known the carrot value of fluffy loyalty bonus points for years, but Her Majesty's Plod only knows the stick value of stern punishment. Insurance companies appreciate the overall value of no claims' bonuses, so how about giving motorists a negative point for each year they manage to navigate the hell on wheels that is the British road network, without incident..?

Moreover, because these bonus points are just that - "a bonus" - it should be possible to invoke other aspects of motoring presently (rightly) outside the penalty points scheme. For example, certain types of static motoring misdemeanours could count against the annual bonus scheme - whereas it would be deemed grossly unfair to treat parking on a par with moving traffic violations when handing out penalties, these "static" offences could more fairly be taken into account when handing out the gold stars.

With a bit of thought, such a scheme might also be introduced to other areas of incentives to give those who try and lead responsible lives some hope that maybe the criminal justice system is not entirely skewed in favour of the feckless and irresponsible.

The insurance industry would also love it, since such a scheme would provide a very reliable instant provenance on prospects and give it yet more excuses to penalise the young and feckless. And capping the negative points at -15 would probably ensure that some elderly motorist with an armoured car, a grudge and -60 points didn't decide to cash them all in one fell swoop by going postal and wiping out an entire town centre.

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