'Stupid Aid Week'

AA highlights stupid driving regulations and stupid driving

1 September 2008

Are yellow lines that run for just 18 inches one of the stupidest interpretations of traffic regulations in the UK, questions the AA at the beginning of Stupid Aid Week.

Some cities indulge in wasting yellow paint on short double yellow lines. Norwich is the capital for this "yellow peril" with a 24 inch record stretch in Theatre Street, 35 inches in St Stephen's and 36 inches in Tombland.

The record of 18 inches for a single yellow line was found at Highbury Crescent in London. The AA questions whether these short lines are necessary as only a toy car could park on these lines.

A new survival guide to help everyone cope with increasing examples of stupidity in the world is being launched by the Stupid Aid campaign this week.

Some stupid examples flagged up by the AA include:

  • Double yellow lines where only toy cars could park
  • A "Don't hog middle lane" sign on the M54 where the road only has two lanes
  • Not being able to give someone the remainder of your unexpired pay and display car park ticket even though you have paid for it?
  • Bus lane camera enforcement which prevents motorists entering or leaving their own premises without getting a ticket
  • Wheel clamping cars parked illegally on the street which means they are parked illegally for longer
  • Government licensing of wheel clamping on private land that includes no guidance on what cowboy clampers can charge and therefore is a "licence to print money"
  • Wheel clamping on private land outlawed as "extortion and theft" in Scotland but clampers allowed to "extort and steal" in rest of UK
  • Charging more for residents' parking permits based on length of car in Norwich and pretending this is an environmental measure when length does not determine CO2
  • Charging more for residents' parking permits based on CO2 (In Richmond and other areas) when residents with driveways pay nothing and CO2 output is based on use of car not ownership
  • Local authorities not filling in potholes ending up paying more in compensation claims that they would pay by fixing the roads
  • Buying petrol in litres, thinking about fuel economy in miles per gallon, measuring traffic by billion vehicle km's and having road signs in miles. Confused.

Whether it is being told 'the Computer says No' or something is not allowed because of 'data protection' or 'health and safety', the new survival manual, aims to provide practical tools, tips, ideas and inspiration of what to do when faced with examples of bureaucracy gone mad, daft decisions, or inflexible 'jobsworths'.

The new guide, called 'Overcome Stupidity in the world around you' is being launched during Stupid Aid Week by the Flexible Thinking Forum , a new not-for-profit social enterprise, which promotes creative thinking skills.

Stupidity is not about low intelligence but is caused by inflexible thinking. There are numerous examples of clever people who do stupid things.

AA comment

Commenting, Edmund King, AA president, said; "Sometimes it is worth questioning some of the stupid regulations regarding motoring and we will be raising these issues with the relevant highway authorities. Painting yellow lines where nobody can park is pretty silly, as is, not being allowed to give your pay and display ticket that you have paid for to another driver.

"However, motorists should also consider some of their own stupid practices such as tailgating, hogging the middle lane or using hand held mobiles."

A recent AA/Populus poll of more that 18,500 drivers found that the following driving habits were the most annoying and stupid.

Pet hates

  • Tailgating (driving too close) 30%
  • Talking on mobile while driving 26%
  • Middle lane hogs 20%
  • Slow drivers 6%
  • Swoopers (cutting across motorway lanes at the last minute) 5%
  • Undertakers (undertaking on the inside) 4%
  • Speeders 4%
  • Litter bugs 3%

Commenting on his new book creativity expert Andy Green said: "Stupid Aid has a serious message - we want people get in control of their world to fight back against stupidity, or not feel so helpless whenever they come across it. We hope it will not be a losing battle."


The guide is written by leading creativity expert Andy Green, it highlights how, in spite of massive technological advances to make us act 'smarter', the opposite seems to happen.

To promote the new survival Guide he will be touring across the UK during Stupid Aid Week visiting organizations which suffer from stupidity in the world at large.

These include the Information Commissioner's Office, which suffers from the term 'data protection' being used inappropriately; emergency services call centres such as at West Yorkshire Police receiving time-wasting stupid nuisance calls; and the Institute of Occupational Health, whose cause is hindered by urban myths.


01 September 2008