60,000 drivers break the law in a year

MORE than 60,000 motorists in Suffolk were issued fixed penalty notices for traffic offences during 2005, it has been revealed.Figures released by Suffolk Constabulary under the Freedom of Information Act show thousands of drivers across the county were handed either £30 or £60 fines for breaking motoring laws last year - amounting to more than £3million.

By Danielle Nuttall

MORE than 60,000 motorists in Suffolk were issued fixed penalty notices for traffic offences during 2005, it has been revealed.

Figures released by Suffolk Constabulary under the Freedom of Information Act show thousands of drivers across the county were handed either £30 or £60 fines for breaking motoring laws last year - amounting to more than £3million.

Speeding topped the list of offences, with 40,016 motorists caught exceeding the limit by police or camera devices.


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A total of 1,695 people were issued a fixed penalty notice for using a handheld mobile phone while driving while 2,778 were punished for not wearing their seatbelt.

Chief Inspector Alan Pawsey, of Suffolk Constabulary's traffic department, said he was amazed people were still flouting the law and endangering other road user's lives despite numerous safety campaigns.

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“People continue to take these risks,” he said.

“We don't go around doing this for fun. We are doing this to help save lives. It's as simple as that. In terms of being a kill joy or impinging on people's rights, it's not the fact at all.

“If you are doing something that puts an adverse risk on other people's lives, you should think twice about that.

“What we do know is that there would be people alive today if they had been wearing their seatbelt in Suffolk. I am always amazed by the number of people who still do not wear seatbelts.”

The force's figures reveal 717 more motorists were caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving last year than in 2004.

Ch Insp Pawsey said that driving while on a mobile phone could produce effects similar to being drunk behind the wheel.

“They don't realise we can actually access data to ensure in the event of a collision the person wasn't using their mobile phone,” he said.

“That will be part of an investigation and we can trace this by using telephone records. People are taking an additional risk,” he said.

But the real figure for those breaking the law by using their mobile is likely to be much worse, he said.

“Our aim is to be highly visible therefore it's very likely police officers see more of that type of offending when they are actually off-duty than on,” he said.

The chief inspector added that the force was carrying out more speed enforcement than ever before and had more technology and equipment than in the past.

“There will be three mobile units at any one time around Suffolk. There are dedicated speed enforcers at the road policing units in Bury St Edmunds, Martlesham and Halesworth. Each policing sector has between one and two speed laser detectors.

“We are undoubtedly catching more. We are certainly out there and visible with our equipment. People do respond to a police presence.”

The figures show a total of 62,335 motorists were issued with fixed penalty notices for traffic offences during 2005.

Of those, 14,388 were for obstruction, waiting and parking offences while 145 involved careless driving.

Fact box

Figures for fixed penalty notices issued to motorists in Suffolk during 2005

Endorsable offences carrying a £60 fine. Total: 40,555 (£2.43m)

Driving licence related offences: 133

Vehicle or part vehicle in dangerous or defective condition: 92

Speed limit offences including those recorded on any camera device: 40,016

Neglect of traffic directions: 283

Neglect of pedestrian rights: 26

Obstruction, waiting and parking offences: 3

Offences peculiar to motorcyclists: 2

Non endorsable offences carrying a £30 fine. Total: 21,780 (£653,400)

Offences involving careless driving: 145

Use of handheld mobile phone while driving: 1,695

Vehicle registration and excise licence offences: 560

Vehicle or part of vehicle in dangerous or defective condition: 34

Neglect of traffic directions: 1,712

Neglect of pedestrian rights: 7

Obstruction, waiting and parking offences: 14,385

Load offences: 222

Noise offences: 53

Offences peculiar to motorcyclists: 33

Miscellaneous motoring offences: 118

Seatbelt offences: 2,778

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