After four months of operations, the ‘no excuse’ team
have detected nearly 7,000 traffic related offences on Dorset's
Failure to wear seatbelts accounted for 17 per cent
and 14 per cent for using a mobile phone whilst driving.
The ‘no excuse’ project continues to seek to
make Dorset’s roads safer by improving driver behaviour through the
enforcement of offences which are likely to increase the risk of
collision or which could result in moreserious injuries or
Other offences detected included no insurance,
no driving licence and anti-social driving leading to vehicles
being seized. Provisional licence holders were caught driving
unaccompanied or not displaying “L” plates.
The enforcement teams also detected drivers
with their vision obscured, some high speeders – several at over
100 mph in a 70 mph zone – plus many more offences.
The officers accepted no excuses from those
caught. One man said that he was a stranger to the county and was
confused by Dorset road signs and this was why he was speeding. The
officers patiently explained that the speed limit signs were in
national use and not unique to Dorset. The driver accepted his
ticket without further comment.
Another motorist driving a Volkswagen Horsebox
offered two excuses for not wearing his seatbelt - he was late and
the belt was stuck under his engine cover. He left with his
One driver saw a car slowing down in front of
him which he decided to overtake at speed. Only then he realised
the car in front had reduced the speed due to officers pointing a
hand held laser speed detector. The driver didn’t even attempt to
come up with an excuse and took the ticket for exceeding the signed
limit without complaint.
The ‘no excuse’ campaign significantly raised
its profile in and around Dorchester on 19 May when the Dorset Road
Safe partnership launched a surprise ‘Surround a Town’
On the day, the ‘no excuse’ enforcement teams,
with traffic police and the Dorset Safety Camera Partnership
deployed on all the approach roads to the town, were joined by
around 120 mixed partner staff from Dorset Police, Dorset Safety
Camera Partnership, Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough
Council, Poole Borough Council, Highways Agency, Dorset Fire and
Rescue Service and Streetwise.
The involvement of so many individuals
underlined the importance of trying to reduce casualties within
Dorset through the joint approach of enforcement and education.
Public information stands were displayed at
six locations throughout the town – Dorchester Market, County
Hospital, Tesco's, South Street, Football Stadium, and staff also
engaged with 800 potential young drivers at Thomas Hardye
Support for ‘no excuse’ and ‘Surround a Town’
was quickly apparent from local dog walkers, cyclists and even
drivers who stopped to thank officers for being there and "stopping
bad drivers". Many of those engaging with the staff on the day
clearly voiced their disgust at those caught using mobile phones
whilst driving – many suggesting they should be banned.
A total of 287 driving offences were processed
during ‘Surround a Town’ in Dorchester. They included 61 seatbelt
offences – 38 of these people caught attended a free seatbelt
course held on the day and avoided the £60 fine.
Other offences processed included using a
mobile phone when in control of a vehicle, driving with no
insurance, no MOT
and even an over-laden HGV.
As normal, the drivers presented various
A woman stopped for not wearing a seatbelt
tried: "I just had a spray on tan applied and don't want to smudge
it" – it didn't work.
A coach driver stated with authority that the
speed limit for coaches on dual carriageways was 60 mph. The ‘no
excuse’ officers readily agreed with him and then pointed out that
he was actually on a road with a 30 mph speed limit in Poundbury,
several miles short of a dual carriageway. Therefore driving at 40
mph was not acceptable. He took his ticket without further
Chief Inspector Bob Nichols of Dorset Police
Specialist Operations said: “The ‘no excuse’ initiative is
supported by all the agencies in Dorset who are involved in the
tragic aftermath of avoidable collisions.
“By increasing the likelihood of detection for
those drivers who continue to put other road users at risk, I am
confident that the standards of driving and concentration will
improve and make using Dorset’s roads safer.
“Many of the motorists who are caught are
eligible for driver awareness courses which allow them to avoid
incurring penalty points and offer the chance to improve their
“We see this association of enforcement and
education as the key to reducing collisions.”
In monthly surveys carried out during the
first four months of the campaign, public recognition of the ‘no
excuse’ logo had increased to a staggering 73 per cent. During the
‘Surround a Town’ operation at Dorchester the percentage of those
questioned recognising the ‘no excuse’ logo had risen to 83 per
The ‘no excuse’ team’s presence will be felt
across all areas of the county for the rest of the year –
maintaining the deterrent, catching dangerous and inconsiderate
drivers to make Dorset's roads safer.