Headline from France:
The rate of offences by drivers over 65 jumped 38 per cent from 2003-05.
Of course the first root cause that comes to mind is that those French grandmas are driving old Citroen’s that are finally falling apart, causing accidents on the way to the local patisserie. Perhaps that’s a good thing, as the roads may soon be rid of one of the ugliest cars ever created. Finally.
But no. The real reason is far different, and far more interesting.
It is the latest ruse on the roads of France: drivers are avoiding disqualification by trading licence points on the internet. Complete strangers are taking the rap for speeding offences in return for up to €1,500 (£1,000), and police admit they are powerless to intervene. Even pensioners who have not driven for many years are getting in on the act.
And who typically has the cleanest licenses, making it possible to profit handsomely from such opportunity?
It has become routine in families of all classes for repeat offenders to ask friends and relatives with clean licences to lend their names. This explains an apparently steep rise in bad driving by older citizens.
The government tries to contain the problem, but to little avail.
The black market, which the authorities admit they are unable to prevent, is an unintended consequence of stronger enforcement of the highway code. The Interior Ministry said that it carries out spot checks. “For example, suspicion will be raised if an 84-year-old grandmother is snapped at 200 kph (160mph) at five on a Sunday morning near a nightclub,” he told le Parisien newspaper.
Or maybe that’s simply the fun-loving nana that many of us wish we had! Don’t worry, those of us in other countries probably won’t have to wait long for some newfound point freedom.
The online scam is also popular in Spain and other European countries, and authorities believe it may soon be introduced in Britain.
Isn’t it great how a little regulation can ignite the entrepreneur in some of us?