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Dorset Police urge motorists to behave sensibly on our roads

Dorset Police will be stepping up its education and enforcement of the ‘fatal five’ with a focus on speed as part of a National Police Chiefs’ Council operation.

With the gradual relaxing of lockdown restrictions, police forces throughout the UK are reminding motorists of the importance of travelling safely and within the speed limit, and will be carrying out education and enforcement measures to target those not sticking to the rules.  

Sites receiving attention from officers will either focus on locations where collisions have occurred in the past, or areas highlighted to the Force that are of concern to local residents. 

While the national campaign is focusing on excess speed, this is just one of the ‘fatal five’ which also includes drink/drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt, being distracted at the wheel and careless and inconsiderate behaviour. Officers will be engaging with road users and enforcing where appropriate on all road safety areas to encourage everyone to stay safe. 

This operation is deliberately timed as travel restrictions start to ease, to keep people safe as the volume of traffic increases.

Chief Inspector Steve Lenney, Head of Roads Policing across Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, said: “Over the past two months we’ve seen a significant reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads as a result of lockdown measures reducing the number of vehicles travelling. 

“However, we have seen examples where some drivers have used the lack of traffic to drive in an unsafe way, or travel at significantly excessive speeds, which can often result in tragedy. 

“As the country begins to move out of lockdown and we’re beginning to see more road users on our network, we’re stepping up our education and enforcement to remind drivers of their responsibilities. 

“We recognise that some drivers may have not got behind the wheel in several weeks so alongside our enforcement activities, we will also be educating road users on vehicle safety as well as the effects of excess speed.”

Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “One of the many effects of the COVID-19 crisis has been relatively quiet roads, but now we are now entering a period of gradually returning to normal, which will include thousands of drivers getting behind the wheel – sometimes for the first time in weeks.

“It’s always important to ensure drivers avoid the ‘fatal five’, but it’s even more essential to do this at a time when we know our roads will be getting busier, so officers will be out and about across the county making sure drivers stay safe and targeting those who break the rules.” 

Councillor Andy Hadley, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Infrastructure at BCP Council, said “There are many people walking or cycling on our highways, including children and the elderly. Speeding motorists create a hostile and dangerous environment for all of these road users, as well as putting themselves at risk, and I would urge people to think about the impact of their behaviour, to slow down and stay safe.”

During 2018, figures show that 1,624 people sadly lost their lives on roads in England and Wales, with 58% of deaths occurring on rural roads. A further 25,000 people were seriously injured in collisions. 

At 30mph, vehicles are travelling at 44 feet or about three car lengths each second.  Even in good conditions, the difference in stopping distance between 30 mph and 35 mph is an extra 21 feet or 6.4 metres, more than two car lengths, this could make all the difference in avoiding a collision. The distance required to stop safely significantly increases at higher speeds which could cause greater injury to pedestrians and cyclists involved in collisions. 

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