UK: BMW may discipline speedy finance man

By just-auto.com editorial team | 5 November 2007

BMW is considering disciplining the German finance director of its Plant Oxford Mini production facility who was last week jailed for making his 19-year-old son take the blame for a speeding offence.

"All we're saying is that we're investigating disciplinary action," BMW (GB) group communications manager Angela Stangroom told just-auto on Monday. She declined to comment further.

She confirmed that Thomas Moser, jailed for six weeks for lying to police after being clocked speeding at 101mph in a Mini, was not at work.

Newspaper reports said the plant finance chief was given three chances to change his story and was eventually jailed for perjury after claiming falsely that his son had been driving the car at more than twice the legal 50mph (80km/h) speed limit.

Speed camera-obsessed traffic chiefs in Britain - one of whom has just himself been caught travelling at 90mph in a 60mph zone - operate a harsh regime under which just four offences can lead to enough three-point penalties to invoke a 12-month driving ban.

The papers said Moser is the latest in a growing number of motorists who try to illegally 'swap points' to keep their licences clean or escape a ban.

He was caught last May by a speed camera van (often referred to here as 'Tallyvans') on Oxford's eastern by-pass (which leads to the Mini plant). He was driving a BMW-owned Mini, Banbury Magistrates' court was told.

Despite photographic evidence to the contrary, Moser, a German national, claimed his son Maximilian was driving at the time of the offence, the papers said.

He continued to name his son despite three times being given the chance to change his story. He pleaded guilty in court to making a false written statement and to the speeding charge.

Moser, with BMW for 20 years, was sentenced to six weeks jail for perjury, and fined GBP1,200 for speeding. He was also ordered to pay GBP60 costs and was disqualified from driving for three months.

The Daily Mail noted that, in contrast, England soccer legend Teddy Sheringham admitted in July nominating someone else to take speeding points for him - but escaped with just a caution. He was among a group of stars arrested for allegedly swapping speeding points to beat driving bans.

Sheringham initially denied the allegation but the policeman's son later accepted a caution for perverting the course of justice. Sheringham, who has been awarded an MBE, will not have a police record but details of the offence will be kept on file.

His former West Ham club-mate Bobby Zamora got cautioned for the same offence two weeks earlier.

Other sports stars have escaped speeding offences with far more lenient sentences - or discharges - than the general public.

Readers commented to the Daily Mail's online edition that Moser, as an errant motorist, was more heavily punished in a week that saw an attacker who blinded a 97-year-old pensioner in one eye spared a custodial sentence.

Another commented that popular television motoring programme Top Gear had recently noted that the British are more likely to be jailed for a motoring offence than committing a robbery.

The Daily Mail noted that traditional style yellow-box 'Gatos' cameras flash from the rear, so the identity of the driver is not seen while new forward facing digital cameras have a clear shot of the driver's face, which can be used for identification purposes - hence the crackdown on points swappers.