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Wednesday 15th June 2005

Speed cameras are the bane of the comedian's life. We travel home, late at night, there's nothing on the roads and just the occasional lapse of concentration and bang (or is that flash bang?) you get caught in a trap and then have to wait for a few weeks to find out whether the camera had film in it. Even though I am usually alert enough to spot the boxes a mile off, just occasionally one gets you by surprise and you edge ever closer to the 12 points that would mean a ban from driving and immense inconvenience.
I've been done for this once before, about ten months ago and thus have three points on my licence. I have been flashed a couple of times since then (by a speed camera missus, I have not been subject to a minor sexual assault by a man in a raincoat like you were thinking), but not been done (fingers crossed).
Last week coming back from Swansea the guy who was giving me a lift got caught on a section of the M4. He was doing 70 and assumed he was OK, but had failed to note that the little section he was in had a temporary 40 mile an hour speed limit due to roadworks. He was 30 miles per hour over the speed limit. I am not sure but I think that might be worth more than 3 points. It was very unlucky as we were driving at night, there was nothing around and it was certainly not dangerous. If nothing else the fine would eat up most of his profits from the night's work.
I was coming back from a lovely gig in Taunton and giving another comic a lift. I had made a mental note to watch out for the speed camera that had caught out my friend last week. But inevitably we were deep in conversation and I didn't spot the camera til the last minute and when I did only applied the brakes gently as I was only going at 60. I probably got down to about 45 by the time the light flashed me.
Annoyingly I had fallen victim to the same sneaky trick. The 40mph speed limit on a motorway. It was the fact that I had prepared myself for the event that made my capture all the more annoying.
My carmate tried to tell me all the ways I can get out of it, by lying when the notice comes through (if it does), but some might argue that this entry might serve as a written confession to the crime.
My biggest hope is that so many people are being caught in this sneaky little snare that the box might have run out of film. But if not then I'm up to 6 points (half way to being banned with still two years to catch the other half dozen points) and have more or less done a gig for no money.
My biggest worry with the first three points was that it would send my insurance payments up, but although the company who were down to insure me refused my custom when they heard the news, the man I was talking to on the phone did a search and the company that took me on were £50 cheaper and also had a service where if I do get disqualified from driving due to points they will pay for all my train and cab fares to and from work. What kind of an offer is that? It's encouraging people to break the law!
So now I just play the waiting game and see whether luck will be on my side.
Let's just say I have decided not to contest it if fate is against me.

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