'Shocking' figures despite campaign

A “SHOCKING” figure - that was the response of a police chief after more than 1,500 traffic offences were committed on Suffolk's roads in just seven-and-a-half weeks.

A “SHOCKING” figure - that was the response of a police chief after more than 1,500 traffic offences were committed on Suffolk's roads in just seven-and-a-half weeks.

Motorists committed 1,515 traffic offences on the county's roads between September 1 and October 21.

“This is a shocking figure,” deputy chief constable Jacqui Cheer said. “At the beginning of September, Suffolk Constabulary launched, in partnership with Suffolk County Council, a period of sustained and enhanced enforcement across the county. This was introduced to reduce casualties by targeting inappropriate behaviour on the county's roads.

“Worryingly, the number of people killed or seriously injured on roads in Suffolk is at a higher level than it was last year. Latest figures show that between January 1 and October 24, there were:

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318 people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on Suffolk's roads. In the same period in 2007, there were 240 people killed or seriously injured. This is 78 more KSI casualties (an increase of 32.5pc) in 2008 compared to 2007.

“So far, as part of the campaign, officers have caught 893 people without a seatbelt, 209 drivers using their mobile phones, and 413 motorists speeding. 276 fixed penalty notices have also been issued for other motoring offences, such as vehicle defects.

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“Each and every person committing a traffic offence could end up being a statistic. We hope this campaign will save lives by changing people's behaviour. I can't emphasise how important it is for everyone to drive according to the law; this is for your safety and the safety of others.”

The campaign is being supported by increased enforcement by Suffolk Safecam and on occasions officers are using speed cameras in unmarked vehicles in order to detect speeding motorists. The campaign has also lead to arrests for other offences.

“We must also remember that research shows a strong link between those committing motoring offences and other general crimes,”

continued Deputy Chief Constable Cheer. “Already this campaign has lead to the arrest of nine people for other criminal offences, not just those relating to driving. Not only is this increased enforcement helping to combat anti-social driving behaviour, but it is also helping to deny criminals the use of the roads.”

Motorists are also being urged to take extra care with the onset of winter.

“The turning back of the clocks and the cold weather unfortunately tends to mean more collisions on our roads,” said DCC Cheer.

“It is inevitable that cold weather will make driving more hazardous, but there are a few simple precautions that any driver can take:

“Only undertake necessary journeys if it is icy and keep an eye on the weather forecast.

“If you have to go out, take a fully charged mobile phone, emergency clothing and warm drinks.

“Make sure your vehicle is up to scratch, with well-maintained lights and tyres, and carry de-icer. Importantly, don't drive until the windscreen is free from frost or mist.

“Allow more time for your journey with additional stops en route, as winter driving tends to be more demanding. And if there are poor weather conditions and visibility, remember to slow down and use dipped headlights.”

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