Roads police focus on detecting the '˜fatal four' before reckless drivers cause serious harm

Catching drivers committing one of the '˜fatal four' before they cause a serious collision is one of the key tasks for West Yorkshire's Roads Policing Unit (RPU) as it monitors Leeds's motorway network each day.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 28th May 2018, 8:27 am
Updated Monday, 28th May 2018, 8:31 am
Chief Inspector Mark Bownass, of West Yorkshire Police's Roads Policing Unit. Picture: Office of West Yorkshire Police Crime Commisioner
Chief Inspector Mark Bownass, of West Yorkshire Police's Roads Policing Unit. Picture: Office of West Yorkshire Police Crime Commisioner

Speed cameras on motorways in West Yorkshire captured 30,431 speeding drivers from 2015 to 2017, while officers caught a further 2,023 drivers with mobile cameras.

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But the remaining three common causes of serious injuries and fatalities – drink and drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone while driving – can only be detected by officers out on the road network.

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Despite regular campaigns highlighting the risks, Chief Inspector Mark Bownass said these dangerous driving practices are still seen time and time again. “We’re always going to get those that will flout the law, that want to drive their mate’s car uninsured or drunk,” he said.

The priority then is to catch those individuals before they cause a serious collision that harms themselves and potentially others.

Among the newer tools to support this work are the roadside testing kits which saw the force record the third highest rate of drug driving offences in the UK during 2017.

“We received £25,000 of funding last year and we’ve doubled that this year to be able to continue with drug swabs and be able to carry on with this great work,” Chief Insp Bownass said.

“Whether you are under the effects of drugs or drink, you’re still not focused on the what you’re doing. They’re both as dangerous.”

The RPU also teamed up with Highways England for Operation Tramline, which saw officers travelling in an HGV to film offences.

Chief Insp Bownass said: “We’re so high up we can pick up on the HGV drivers watching telly but we can also see down into vehicles, people trying to be smart and having their phone on their lap. They’re driving and texting.”