Banned from Driving for Six Months

Road Safety Article

I love Arsenal. I also love saving lives. That is perhaps why God divinely brought me to the Federal Road Safety Corps. In our life saving business, road traffic crashes respect no one. Big. Small. Rich or poor. Literate or uneducated. Porsche car or rickety.

Like a friend once captured, an accident scene such as the one that occurred at Okenne with 19 people all burnt beyond recognition, is like a mortuary where littered corpses know no class. No title(s). No sex. No tribe and no religion. Littered corpses do not even know their political affiliation. All of these affiliations and titles, like the Holy Book captures it, become vanity.

Our job especially at crash scenes is like the English Judicial System where everyone is equal before the law.In the English Judicial system, there is nothing like the cliché,” do you know “who I AM” in our clime which is common among the privileged few when confronted by our operatives.

If you are wondering where I am drifting to, please patiently follow me on this journey as I navigate to drive my point home. Let us start on this journey with a poser. First, do you know Paul Merson? The 54 years old is an English sportsman. He is also an ex- Arsenal player. Merson also played for Aston Villa, Portsmouth and Middlesbrough. Currently, he is a Sky sports pundit.

As an Arsenal freak, I love Merson. Same way I love other ex-Arsenal players such as Patrick Viera, Thierry Henry as well as Kanu Nwankwo among others but my focus is members of the invincible whose record is yet to be matched despite laurels by all the big six including other teams in the Premiership. It is on Merson

Recently, I stumbled on a material on the driving behavior of one of my darling players.According to the report, this my favourite player has been banned from driving after being convicted of speeding three times within a month. He was said to have driven at 47mph in a 40mph limit on the A316 Great Chertsey Road in Feltham, south London on September 6.

I am talking about Paul Merson. He was caught again doing the same speed on the same road just two days later in his Silver Volkswagen Touareg. Again, the retired midfielder was caught speeding at 57mph in a 50mph stretch of A316 Country way in Sunbury on October 1. The trio of offences within a month came after he was caught driving 60 mph in a 50 mph limit on the M3 at Thorpe, Surrey on February 27 last year.

Based on his James Bond driving infractions, May 11,2024 was the day for justice to speak. He appeared at Guildford Magistrates Court for a disqualification hearing. Despite pleading guilty to all four charges, Merson’s celebrity status did not pacify the Judge as he was banned from driving for six months after receiving 12 penalty points.

I have consistently described the introduction of the Penalty Point system as a game changer that would tame irresponsible driving behavior. While we await the fine-tuning of the adoption of this intervention in our clime, the footy playmaker was also fined 2640 pounds, must pay a victim surcharge of 1056 pounds and prosecution costs of 110 pounds within 28 days.

The Magistrate, Joan Lindsay demonstrated that she had no room for frivolities as she admitted that Merson’s previous driving record was not great and warned, “you mustn’t drive on any UK road once you leave court.”

Merson’s defending counsel, Nicholas Maggs surprisingly played to the gallery by claiming that the four new convictions were for “relatively modest” speeds in variable limits. Sentimentally, the learned counsel claimed disqualification will have a “substantial effect” on his wife, who doesn’t drive and his family, as Merse does the school run.

Not done, he went on claiming that the oldest of their three kids, aged three, six, and nine, has to travel 45 minutes around four times a week for training and matches at Chelsea’s Academy. He said,” on his behalf, I wish to put forward his remorse for these offences. He accepts it’s not acceptable.” Through me he apologises to the court for finding himself before the court and finding himself disqualified for driving.

The learned man turned counsellor noted that ‘It’s going to make things substantially more difficult.” .This he said is because Mr Merson experienced a number of difficulties in his younger life and has now chosen to use these positively through unpaid speaking events to help younger people from suffering mental health problems.”

His convictions come after the dad of eight received a 14 month ban for falling asleep behind the wheel and crashing his Mercedes into a lorry while drunk driving on the M40 near Warwick in October 2011.

Merson has battled with alcohol, drugs and gambling. He earned 21Three Lions Cap and went to Euro 92 and World cup 98. He won the old First Division title with the Gooners in 1998 and 1991, before securing an FA Cup and League Cup Double in 1993.

Now that I have guided you on the recklessness of my favourite footballer,please let me help you understand why the Court was vehement in its judgement.The World Health Organisation(WHO) and the World Bank in their extensive report notes that an increase in average speed is directly related both to the likelihood of a crash occurring and to the severity of the consequences of the crash. For example, every 1percent increase in mean speed, it notes, produces a 4percent increase in the fatal crash risk and a 3percent increase in the serious crash risk.

It further states that the death risk for pedestrians hit by car front rises rapidly; 4.5 times from 50 km/h to 65 km/h. In car-to-car side impacts, the fatality risk for car occupants is 85 percent at 65 km/h. The next should be of utmost interest to my friends whose pastime is to drive under the influence as well as speeding at the same time.

The report also identified the place of those who indulge in driving under the influence of alcohol and other psychoactive substances. Merson was caught in this web. Driving under the influence of alcohol and any psychoactive substance or drug increases the risk of a crash that results in death or serious injuries. In the case of drink-driving, the risk of a road traffic crash starts at low levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and increases significantly when the driver’s BAC is equal to 0.04 g/dl.

In the case of drug-driving, the risk of incurring a road traffic crash is increased to differing degrees depending on the psychoactive drug used. For example, the risk of a fatal crash occurring among those who have used amphetamines is about 5 times the risk of someone who hasn’t. So,please watch that speed and the alcohol intake and remember that the same penalty that suspended Paul Merson for six months will soon keep you away from driving.

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