No excuse around Blandford
On Wednesday 8 September, more than 150 motorists were caught, driving illegally on the roads around Blandford.
The offences were spotted by teams of traffic police officers taking part in an operation that was part of the Dorset Road Safe partnership's year-long 'no excuse' campaign – with a concentrated presence of marked and unmarked police cars, bikes and laser camera vehicles based on the A354, A350 and A357.
By 3.00 pm, police officers had detected and issued tickets to motorists for more than 120 offences – with a further 30 speeding offences detected by the laser camera van.
Of the tickets issued by police officers, 64 were for people not wearing a seatbelt, either while driving or as a passenger. A total of 46 of these offenders took the opportunity to attend a driver education course at the Corn Exchange in Blandford in lieu of paying a £60 fine – an option not normally available.
A range of other offences were spotted throughout the day. Some 15 drivers were detected using mobile phones, while other offences included 19 drivers having no license or insurance or MOT, two drivers not being in proper control of their vehicle and one driver for having an insecure load.
In addition to those taking advantage of the seat belt course, members of the public visited the Corn Exchange during the day and showed their appreciation at the teams presence.
Many visitors invited the team to come back anytime and took the opportunity to chat to a range of experts from all partner agencies involved, including Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, Dorset County Council, Bournemouth and Poole Council staff, Driver Awareness Scheme instructors and Dorset Police.
The team was able to answer many questions relating to traffic law, casualty reduction and good driving practice and gave away many useful freebies.
The ‘no excuse’ brand recognition survey on the day showed 86 per cent of those questioned knew of the ‘no excuse’ campaign and its aims.
The 'no excuse’ project was launched in January this year in a bid by Dorset Road Safe to make Dorset's roads safer, focussing on driver distraction, the use of seat belts, excessive speed and impairment (drink and drugs) and supported by a strong multi agency message aimed at reducing death and injury.
Chief Inspector Bob Nichols, Head of Dorset Police’s Traffic Unit, said: “The offenders we caught today were driving in a manner likely to lead to collisions or to worsen the outcome, should they be involved in one.
“The ‘no excuse’ enforcement team is regularly on duty throughout Dorset and will be visiting your area in the near future looking for those dangerous and inconsiderate drivers.”
Robert Smith, Dorset County Council Road Safety Manager, said: “Most drivers accepted that there was 'no excuse' for their offence.
“However, in one incident a lady was stopped during the morning by the team and was duly reported for driving in breach of the conditions of her provisional licence. When she was stopped in the afternoon of the very same day for the very same offence in the very same vehicle, she had her car seized under Section 165 of the Road Traffic Act – she now knows there really is 'no excuse'.
“Another driver referred to his outrage when watching TV programmes about people using mobile phones whilst driving, but still answered his when it rang.
“One man I spoke with said he was heartened to see additional police enforcement on the roads of Blandford and asked for more. He said, ‘I think there is a much greater chance of being caught now. We have been warned!’”