Prince Philip should have been fined for not wearing seatbelt

Back in June 1981, as a fresh faced 16-year-old student, I embarked on my first-ever summer job as a hall porter at the Berkeley Hotel on Worthing seafront.

One of my first jobs was to sweep and weed the car park and as I embarked on my task on that sunny Monday morning, Gilbert, the head porter, told me to watch out for one of the hotel’s permanent residents, who was knocking 90 and still drove everywhere.

Wear a seatbelt sign

Wear a seatbelt sign

Unfortunately, he wasn’t the best driver Worthing had ever seen and, quite simply, he would have been more at home in a bumper car, with numerous bumps and scrapes in the hotel car park with other vehicles.

Partly not wanting to affect his no claims bonus and perhaps not wanting to alert his insurance company, he always paid cash. He was very much old school, and with it extremely generous, almost to the point where some people might almost have wanted him to hit their car.

Clearly, he shouldn’t have been driving, but had obviously managed to that point to go under the radar. When my summer assignment ended, he was still on the road.

|Also in the news - a clamped motorist in Worthing appears to have taken drastic action to escape a driving fine; a gang wearing balaclavas stabbed two people in a house in Littlehampton, and are still at large; and police raided a Worthing home as the force continues its efforts to fight drug crime|

Fast forward almost 40 years and last week we learn that, despite numerous members of staff, 97-year-old Prince Philip still chooses to drive himself.

Unfortunately, we learned this fact because of a collision. Thankfully no one was killed or seriously injured.

Two days after the crash, Prince Philip was back in ‘saddle’, driving a new replacement Range Rover and was pictured not wearing a seatbelt.

I won’t speculate in this column about whether if, at 97, he’s too old to drive, as that’s for him, his doctor, his family and perhaps of the Department for Transport or one of its agencies to decide. But 48 hours after the accident he was pictured not wearing his seatbelt – an offence which carries a fine – and apparently received a talking to.

I do wonder how many people the length a breadth of this country were booked for the same offence on the same day. And I wonder how many of them got just a ticking off.

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