Sunday, July 31, 2005

Cops and Knobbers Cont..

It's surprising that during these fragile times a driver on his way to work can be made to feel like a criminal because he's not conforming entirely with the Construction and Use elements of the Road Traffic Act. But the law, I suppose makes no distinctions between serious criminal offences and minor infractions in so far as no one is above the law and therefore all of us are bound by its precepts. And the law states that two tail lights should be illuminated on moving vehicles during periods of darkness and that four wheeled vehicles can't do impressions of Cyclops from the rear without attracting the attention of a modern day Odysseus.

I could so easily have avoided this brush with authority if I had not treated the bulb-out- matter as trivial and allowed the problem of purchasing a £1.99 new bulb to languish at the bottom of my mental 'to do list.' I knew the old one was keeping an irregular working pattern and was always likely to choose its flexible time off at suspicious 'two in the morning' type times, offering red rags - as opposed to a red lenses - to any trawling traffic bobbies anxious to relieve the crushing ennui of the night shift.

And of course once they've go you in, it's size 14 boot-filling time in open season and the check list is quickly out. Actually it was more like size 4 slingback-filling time as both officers were female - though what they lacked in foot bulk was more than compensated by their robust officialdom.

Once they'd finished grilling me in the rear, in the rear seat of their car, about rear light etiquettee; I was invited to join them in a bossy grand-voyage-around-my-car to check a few other matters of concern. It was like being in the presence of a couple of demonised cinema usherettes who instead of searching the rows of seats for sneak-in imps, illuminated the dark corners of my car for signs of hidden defects.

The legal minimum tread depth for car tyres in the United Kingdom and the European Community is 1.6 millimetres throughout a continuous band, three quarters of the width of tread wide and round the entire central circumference of the tyre. One of my tyres didn't seem to make this grade, though in the absence of an onboard police gizmo called a tread-gauge only an un-validated 1.6 millimetre finger nail was testament to this fact, and I was in no mood to accept that as proof beyond reasonable doubt.

So I was sent on my way with a Vehicle Defect Form and a HORT(1) documents producer. Which is sort of getting away with it, but I'm still pretty pissed off.

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