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Police launch road safety clamp-down

[Friday 31 March 2006]

A concerted operation to reduce casualties on North Yorkshire's roads is underway - with road policing officers clamping down on drivers using hand held mobile phones.

Today is the latest in a series of 'casualty free days' - all Fridays - that police say has seen significant reductions in accident numbers across the county's 6,000 miles of roads.

Force clamp-down on dangerous drivers
Force clamp-down on
dangerous drivers

Officers will be carrying out extra high-visibility patrols, offering advice or enforcement where appropriate on roads with poor accident records.

They will pay special attention to seatbelt use, drink-driving, unroadworthy vehicles and any other aspect of road use that might be a cause of accidents - "but we will be concentrating particularly hard on drivers using hand-held mobiles," said Road Policing Inspector Chris Charlton.

"Since using hand-helds at the wheel became illegal there has been a mass of publicity and information gone out. There cannot now be anyone who does not know that this practice is against the law and, even worse, it is extremely dangerous.

"Safe driving requires two hands, simple as that."

Inspector Charlton said offenders could expect prompt and decisive action from officers. North Yorkshire now operates a policy of fast-tracking offenders through the criminal justice system; this can see speeders or other dangerous drivers in front of a Court within days of committing the offence.

Inspector Charlton continued: "With the agreement and support of the courts, we can have extreme speeders put before a court within days of their being caught - drivers and riders who love high speed might like to consider what sort of a summer they will have without their driving licence."

As well as enforcement, officers are aiming to educate road users about the dangers they face. The Casualty-Free Days are a partnership, said Inspector Charlton. The Police will be working with the full support of the North Yorkshire 95 Alive road safety partnership, but the best partners are the county's road-users.

He said: "We will be putting energy and resources into this, but I also want every road user, from the driver of the largest lorry to the rider of the smallest bicycle to play their part in driving down the accident toll."

Analysis shows that 700 accidents involving injury to either drivers or passengers occur every year on a Friday; the average for other days is just 600 every year.

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