Posts Tagged ‘police’

Police head disagrees with increasing road speed limit

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Police Chief of South Wales, Peter Vaughan, has said that he doesn’t agree with the government’s plans to push the legal speed limit on the UK’s roads up to 80mph. He explained that it was basic science that when something is travelling faster, it makes more of an impact when it meets something which is stationary.

He added that he commonly saw people driving at 70mph when the matrix signs on motorways are advising drivers not to exceed 40mph. He went on to say that the signs have been put up for a good reason, and that is to tell people what is happening further down the road.

Vaughan also said that he would like to see Westminster devolve control of the Welsh police force to Cardiff. A recent report by the Department for Transport indicates that nearly half of all drivers have broken the 70mph limit, either on purpose, or by mistake. The limit was introduced in 1965, and official figures show that since then the number of road deaths has dropped by around 75 per cent.

Supporters of increasing the speed limit say that car technology means that it would be safe to do so. They also claim that reducing journey times would be good for the country’s economy.

A consultation was launched earlier in the year, and the Department for Transport has suggested introducing the change in 2013. Detractors say that pushing up the limit will make the roads more dangerous and will mean that motorists will burn more fuel, which is not good for the environment.

Police arrest 200 drink drivers each day in December

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Police forces across England and Wales have collated their drink drive statistics for the festive period. In December 2010, due to the extreme wintry weather conditions, officers stopped and tested 170,000 motorists. For the same period a year earlier they did the same with a total of 223,000 drivers.

On average arrests were slightly up last year at just below four per cent of all those stopped. However, police sources say this was not a dramatic increase. Association of Chief Police Officers’ road policing spokesperson, Chief Constable Mick Giannasi, said it was still unacceptable that in such poor weather conditions that there were drivers prepared to risk the lives of others as well as their own.

Of those subjected to drink and drug testing, 6,613 were placed under arrest. This works out at around 200 drivers being caught breaking the law each day during December. Giannasi explained that many of these motorists not only faced a driving ban, but time behind bars and potentially losing their jobs.

Police across the UK used various tactics to apprehend drivers who had either had too much to drink or had taken illegal substances. These included acting on tip-offs from the public and stopping vehicles at random.

Although officers can tell quickly if a driver is over the permitted alcohol limit by using a breathalyser, there is still no similar device to tell whether a motorist has taken illegal drugs. The Home Office is in talks with various firms about developing such a device to be used at the roadside as well as in police stations.

Winter insurance claims from motorists expected to rise

Monday, December 20th, 2010

The AA is predicting a hike in the number of insurance claims made over the festive period from motorists having accidents directly attributable to the current severe weather conditions. Across the UK the number of claims is already up by ten per cent and nearly a quarter of these claims are due to the snow and ice.

In Scotland, 51 per cent of those contacting their insurance brokers are doing so because of the current weather conditions, and 34 per cent of those claiming in Wales are doing so because of collisions on the icy roads.

According to the AA, the most common cause for an insurance claim in severe weather is from people who have had a rear end collision while stopped at a roundabout or a road junction. The motoring organisation advises that a gap of at least ten seconds is left between cars so that the chances of slipping into the car in front are kept to a minimum. The second most common claim is for collisions with parked cars.

Simon Douglas, the AA’s insurance director, points out that one way of helping to prevent such incidents is to equip vehicles with snow tyres. This will enable cars to better grip the roads when they have snow and ice on them.

Douglas also advised drivers to plan their journeys extremely carefully over the Christmas period and warned them to keep an eye on the local weather forecasts. He went on to say that attention should be paid to the advice being given by the local police. If they are saying not to venture out, then it is best not to venture out.

Drug drivers unlikely to get caught

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Road safety experts are warning that drug drivers will continue to get away with being high behind the wheel until some type of roadside testing device is issued to the country’s traffic police. At the moment all an officer can do if a suspected drug driver is apprehended is ask them to perform a field impairment test. This involves touching the nose and managing to walk in a straight line.

Even the Police Federation admits that such tests are flawed and that most officers are unsure how to conduct the tests properly anyway. Another hurdle to securing a conviction of a drug driver is the lack of knowledge by both the police and Crown Prosecution lawyers on what evidence is necessary to secure that conviction.

There is also the problem of stigma. Drug driving is not placed in the same league as driving after drinking too much. The lack of a deterrent also encourages people to get behind the wheel according to campaigner Michelle Sneddon who lost her son when a driver who had taken drugs mounted a pavement.

She said that she had talked to a number of officers about a handheld device for detecting drug use, and they all admitted it would be extremely useful. The Department for Transport has said a testing device would be made available next year in police stations.

Campaigners are claiming that it is not enough of a deterrent to have testing equipment based in police stations and that the police need to have handheld equipment that can be used on the move.

Driving instructor fiddles sat nav to escape speeding fine

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

A self-employed driving instructor from Devon faces a possible jail sentence after manipulating the data in his sat nav to escape a speeding charge. Shaun Richards of Exeter was allegedly clocked driving over the 40mph limit on the A386 in west Devon. The Road Safety Support data shows that this happened on 1 June last year. However, the 49-year-old decided to retrace the route in his car in February this year at a legal speed.

Mr Richards then replaced the earlier data with this data in an attempt to cover up his speeding offence. Unfortunately for Mr Richards, he failed to realise that the month in which he drove over the speed limit falls under British Summer Time and the month in which he recorded the false data falls under Greenwich Mean Time.

The mistake was spotted by Steven Callaghan from Road Safety Support. Mr Callaghan said that this was the first instance of the police discovering that a sat nav device had been tampered with in order to escape a traffic violation.

Once the fraud was discovered, police seized Mr Richards’ data memory stick along with the German manufactured sat nav device and confirmed the fiddle.

Devon and Cornwall police constable Dave Williams said it would have been far simpler for everyone involved if Mr Richards had owned up to the speeding offence in the first place. He added that time and resources had been used up trying to prove the crime. Mr Richards is due to return to court next month to discover his sentence.

Speed limits difficult to stick to say drivers

Monday, September 27th, 2010

A recent online survey suggests that although many motorists are still breaking speed limits, they do not mean to. The research, conducted by the Institute of Advanced Motorists in August and September, shows that nearly 90 per cent of drivers in the UK intend to comply with speed regulations. Unfortunately, 60 per cent replied to the poll saying that they often found this difficult.

Director of policy and research at the IAM, Neil Greig, said it was good news that so many drivers tried to keep their speeds down, but not so good to see that this was proving so difficult for so many. The main reason for speeding, according to the survey, was the fact that many motorists do not agree with the limit imposed on certain stretches of road by the authorities.

Mr Greig said he thought many were tempted to push their speeds up because of pressure from other drivers. Motorways were the roads on which drivers are most likely to put their foot down and break the law with 58 per cent admitting they had done so.

Rural roads also tempted drivers to exceed limits with one in five admitting they would speed in the countryside. Nearly one in five claimed they would never consider speeding, with four per cent saying they would do so in built up areas.

Of those who admitted to driving above the speed limit, 40 per cent said a police presence on the road was the thing that was most likely to keep them within the limit. Speed cameras were considered the most effective deterrent by one in 10.

YouTube car splash driver facing charges

Friday, October 16th, 2009

A driver is facing police action for deliberately driving through a puddle with the intention of splashing a group of school children who were waiting for a bus.

Police have responded to a number of complaints about the 24 second clip which had been posted on video hosting website YouTube.

The video shows the driver and her partner giving a running commentary as she motors down a road in Plymouth, Devon.

Her partner makes light of the situation in the video. While identifying the children at the bottom of the hill, and the puddle, he sspeaks with tones of excitement in his voice.

The 24 second clip was filmed from inside the car and shows the vehicle splashing the children at the bus stop.

Police say the 29 year old driver had voluntarily contacted police and was interviewed on Sunday, with a police spokesman saying that the incident could mean that the driver was driving without reasonable consideration for other road users.

Deliberately driving through a puddle with the intention to splash bystanders is an offence of careless and inconsiderate driving, and carries a fine of up to £2,500.

Another driver was found guilty of soaking a workman four years ago and given a £150 fine.

Woman faces jail time for failing to return hire car

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

A woman is facing a possible prison sentence of fifteen years for failing to return her hire car. The woman, from West Palm Beach in Florida, didn’t return the vehicle to Detroit Metropolitan Airport as at the agreed time.

It was first reported to police that Ashley Marie Martin had disappeared with her car hire when OnStar, who manufacture the cars’ on-board navigation system, called St. Clair County Central Dispatch to inform them that they were tracing a car that had been reported as stolen.

The vehicle, a 2010 GMC Acadia, was tracked using satellite technology to an address provided by OnStar and police moved quickly to arrest the woman. As they approached, OnStar was able to automatically disable the car’s engine so that the alleged suspect couldn’t make a quick getaway. OnStar were also able to remotely activate the cars horn so that police would be in no doubt as to which car was the stolen vehicle. Police found the car in Ms. Martin’s garage.

OnStar later enabled the car once they were absolutely sure it was safe and the police were able to take it away. Ms. Martin was charged with not returning rental property of a value of over $20,000. Her trial will begin on 13th October.