The No Excuse approach was launched in 2010 to help reduce the number of casualties on Dorset roads. In addition to highly visible road signs, publicity campaigns, and the work of the Dorset Road Safe safety camera team, a dedicated police officer led enforcement team was introduced in 2014. The team operates at different times and locations every day of the week and is supported by the Special Constabulary.
The aim of No Excuse is to positively change driver and rider attitudes on Dorset roads, improving standards of driving and reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured. Unfortunately, Dorset has some of the most dangerous roads in the UK, with the county regularly recording some of the highest numbers of serious collisions comparative to its relatively small size. Therefore, improving driver and rider standards, tackling dangerous behaviour and making our roads safer is a major priority for Dorset Police
No excuse logoTo do this, No Excuse targets the five main contributory factors that cause serious road traffic collisions . These are known as the 'Fatal Five'. The team is transparent about how and where they tackle these issues - including posting the locations of safety cameras online, announcing where the No Excuse team will be operating each day on Twitter, and engaging with the public on Facebook to explain the issues they have tackled and for suggestions of roads they should visit where dangerous driving has been seen. The team would always rather warn people of their activities to stop dangerous driving in the first place, rather than 'catch someone in the act'.
Traffic enforcement is sometimes a contentious issue, as it's often the only way a otherwise law-abiding member of the public comes into contact with the police. However, despite these frustrations, the vast majority of people who speak with the team online and in person are supportive of what they are trying to do, even when they've been stopped for committing a traffic offence. For more minor traffic offences, many people are also given either informal roadside advice or the option to attend a educational Driver Awareness course if they haven't been to one before, rather than a fine and penalty points.
More information about the 'Fatal Five'
98% of collisions are caused by human error, with only 2% caused by unavoidable issues, such as mechanical failure. The five most risky behaviours that the No Excuse team tackle are:
1: Excess or inappropriate speed
Here are some tips to help stay within the speed limit:
- Check your speedometer regularly.
- Know the limits - look for signs, especially at junctions.
- Street lighting means 30mph, until signs say otherwise.
- Try using 3rd gear in a 30mph limit to help you stay within the limit.
2: Failure to wear seatbelts
By law, you must wear a seatbelt in cars and goods vehicles where one is fitted. There are very few exceptions to this. The driver is liable to prosecution if a child under 14 years does not wear a seat belt or child restraint as required. The only situations when you don't need to wear a seatbelt are if you're:- A driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing.- In a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services.- A passenger in a trade vehicle and you're investigating a fault.- Driving a goods vehicle on deliveries that is travelling no more than 50 metres between stops.- A licensed taxi driver who is 'plying for hire' or carrying passengers.- If you are medically exempt from wearing a seat belt, when your doctor will give you a 'Certificate of Exemption'.
3: Driver using a hand-held mobile phone
It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving a vehicle, riding a motorcycle or supervising a learner. The penalty for doing so is £100 and 3 penalty points and if the case goes to court, you will face a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 for good vehicle drivers), disqualification and 3 points. On top of all that, your insurance could also go up.
What should you do? Either switch off your phone or divert to voicemail, before setting off. If your phone does ring, leave it and pick up any messages and make calls once you are safely parked with the engine switched off and keys out of the ignition.
Did you know? Research has shown that those using a mobile phone while driving are four times more likely to crash than someone who isn't. Even though hands-free kits are legal, it is also worth knowing that tests have shown people using these kits can be as distracted as if they were driving drunk.
4: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
The penalties for drink and drug driving are the same. You will receive:
- A 12-month driving ban
- An unlimited fine
- Up to 6 months in prison
- A criminal record
A driver found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving will go to prison for up to 14 years. A conviction for drug driving is shown on your driving license for 11 years. If you drive for work, your employer will see the conviction when you show them your license.
What's the legal limit?
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the legal alcohol limit for drivers is:
- 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood in your body
- 35 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath
- 107 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of urine
However, police recommend that if you're drinking any alcohol, let someone else do the driving.
5: Careless and inconsiderate driving
There is no standard list that would be considered as careless or inconsiderate driving, however, the General Advice section of the Highway Code provides some good examples. For example, Rule 147: Be considerate, Rule 148: Safe driving and riding needs concentration and Rule 150: You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. Any breach of the Highway Code could be treated as an offence if seen by officers.
Examples of dangerous behaviours that the No Excuse team would stop you for include:
- Driving too close to the vehicle in front
- Failing to give way at a junction
- Inappropriate speed for the road and conditions, even if within the speed limit
- Operating a Sat Nav while driving
- Eating and drinking at the wheel
- Under-taking or dangerous over-taking