A six-week clampdown on drivers who break four key rules of the road in Nottinghamshire is underway.
Nottinghamshire Police will stage road safety enforcement operations across the county throughout September and October, focusing on motorists who break speed limits, drive under the influence of the alcohol or drugs, use mobile phones while behind the wheel or fail to wear a seat-belt.
Known collectively as the Fatal Four, those factors are the biggest causes of death and serious injury on our roads.
September is a key month for casualty reduction on the roads. The return to school, colder weather and darker nights combine to make road conditions more treacherous. Last September, five people died in collisions in Nottinghamshire.
Chief Inspector Andy Charlton, who leads for the force on casualty reduction, said: “We are desperately keen to avoid a repetition of last autumn when the number of deaths on the roads jumped alarmingly and certainly provided a setback to our casualty reduction targets. The activity over the next few weeks will be highly visible at peak traffic times to ensure as many people as possible see what we’re doing.
“Statistically, the number of accidents overall, and particularly the number of serious injury crashes, is coming down. Between January and June this year there was a 13.5 per cent reduction in all crashes and a 14 per cent reduction in serious injury crashes compared with the same period last year.
“But sixteen people lost their lives in that six month period, compared to 12 in the first half of 2011, and nine others have been killed in collisions since then, so the fatality figures have bucked the downward trend this year.
“Within those statistics we can see that the number of motorcyclists who have been killed or seriously injured has remained much the same, while the number of incidents where pedal cyclists have been killed or seriously injured has increased very slightly.”
”We still have time to get our fatality reduction figures back on track, but we need to motorists to play their part by thinking carefully about the decisions they make when driving,” said Chief Inspector Charlton.
“Sticking to speed limits, not taking that phone call or sending that text message while driving, and not getting behind the wheel after having had an alcoholic drink should be every driver’s habit.
“So far in 2012 Nottinghamshire police officers have prosecuted 3,522 drivers for not wearing their seat belt and over 3,800 drivers for using their mobile phone and speeding That demonstrates that memories still clearly have to be refreshed, which is why we repeat these messages several times each year.”
Education is also vital, said Chief Inspector Charlton, and Nottinghamshire can now offer driver education courses for those stopped and prosecuted for certain endorsable offences such as speeding and using a mobile phone whilst driving.
“For some time we have been working alongside AA DriveTech to provide a speed awareness course as an alternative to prosecution for drivers who are caught exceeding the speed limit for the first time,” said the chief inspector.
“We are now among the first forces to introduce a course for motorists who have been stopped for using their mobile phone while driving. Like the speed awareness programme, the course will be open to offenders as an alternative to a fine and penalty points.”
The What’s Driving Us? course is also provided by AA DriveTech and costs participants £92 to take part.
“The most important thing to learn, however, is to not commit any of the fatal four offences in the first place,” said Chief Inspector Charlton.