Motorist keeps licence despite clocking up 42 points in three months – SEVEN speeding offences including 109mph in 50mph zone – after giving court a sob story
A motorist has escaped a ban despite clocking up 42 points with SEVEN speeding convictions in just three months.
Alex McFarlane’s offences included doing 109mph in a 50mph zone and jumping a red light.
On another occasion a passenger in his car leaned out and laughed and waved at the camera as McFarlane roared past at 82mph.
He was repeatedly caught breaking the limit between June and August 2014 and EACH time failed to respond to penalty notices from police.
The 50 year-old construction site manager also initially pleaded not guilty to all offences despite being caught on camera.
He changed his plea to guilty when he appeared before magistrates in Southend, Essex, on Monday (29/6).
But despite his appalling record JPs allowed him to keep his licence – to the fury of safety campaigners and police.
McFarlane, from Basildon, Essex told the court he was heavily in debt and said he would lose his job and home if he couldn’t drive.
He claimed since the incidents he has had received treatment for a nervous breakdown which led him on a spending spree and pushed him into debt.
The magistrates gave him six points for each offences – totalling 42 – and warned him he would lose his licence if he did it again.
He was also fined £100 with £50 costs for each offence, making £1,050, and allowed 21 months to pay it back.
After the verdict Essex police took the unusual step of publicising the case – and told motorists to look out for McFarlane and alert them if they saw him breaking the law.
Adam Pipe, the force’s Casualty Reduction Manager, said: “The magistrates made it quite clear that if Mr McFarlane is found speeding again he will automatically lose his licence and he could be given a long disqualification.
“We would ask members of the public to let us know if they have concerns about his driving.
“Safety cameras are a vital tool in reducing fatal and serious road collisions and making our roads safer for all users.
“The majority of drivers who are detected speeding admit the offence and opt to go on a national speed awareness course, if eligible, which costs #100.
“In 2014, 3,460 people failed to respond to penalty notices or tried to pervert the course of justice by claiming that other people had been driving and so far this year we currently have 48 active investigations into attempts to pervert the course of justice.
“We are determined to bring offenders to justice and we can use camera and other technology and good old fashioned policing to find people who try to flout the law.”
Ed Morrow, campaigns officer at road safety charity Brake, said McFarlane’s case made a ‘mockery of the system’.
He said: “The penalty points system exists to give drivers who make a mistake a second chance, while taking serious repeat offenders off the road.
“However, incidents like this, where the ‘exceptional hardship’ clause is so blatantly abused, make a mockery of the system.
“If being able to continue driving is genuinely so vital to your circumstances, you should think about this before repeatedly breaking the law.
“It is highly irresponsible to allow someone who has shown such disregard for the safety of others straight back on the road.”
McFarlane’s offences – committed in a blue Seat Ibiza, a black Ford Focus and a red Ford Fiesta ST – were:
109mph and 82mph in a 50mph limit area at Royal Artillery Way, Southend
69mph and 59mph in a 50 mph zone on the A127 at Rayleigh
55mph in a 40mph limit area on the A127 at Laindon
32mph in a 20mph limit at Marine Parade, Westcliff.
Drove through a red traffic signal on the A127 at Southend