Scores of motorists fined in crackdown

SCORES of motorists have been fined in west Suffolk in the space of just a few hours in a major police crackdown on rogue drivers.

Laurence Cawley

SCORES of motorists have been fined in west Suffolk in the space of just a few hours in a major police crackdown on rogue drivers.

More than 40 officers in nearly 20 police cars were involved in the operation, stationed at key locations in Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury and Haverhill.

Within a matter of hours, traffic officers have revealed they fined 114 people for not wearing a seatbelt, 35 people for speeding and 18 for using their mobile telephones whilst driving.

Last night, Inspector Zoe Finn said drivers might not think they were doing anything wrong by checking a text message or driving a few miles an hour over the limit.

“It is far from it,” she said. “Just a few extra miles an hour, or a moment without your seatbelt on or a few seconds checking a text message, could be enough to cause serious damage to your vehicle, yourself and the lives of others.”

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Figures released by Suffolk County Council reveal more than 200 people have been injured and a further six killed on west Suffolk's main roads in the past year.

Half of these deaths are caused by speeding or driver behaviour.

Insp Finn said: “The aim of this operation was to raise the awareness of offences that can and often do lead to serious injuries or deaths.

“Most of the drivers we stopped responded in a positive manner, they acknowledged the offence they had committed and were receptive to the advice we gave them.

“Every person who received a fixed penalty notice also received a leaflet advising on the law and the consequences, both for them and for others, of flouting the rules of the road.

“I hope that by stopping these drivers, we can change their driving behaviour and their perception that they are not doing anything wrong.

“The message to drivers is that officers are out patrolling the county's roads and enforcing the law, and if you are driving in an irresponsible or dangerous way, you will be caught.

“Suffolk Constabulary does not directly profit from the fines issued, none of the money is retained - once paid the money is sent back to the Government, and a proportion of this comes back to Suffolk County Council for road safety initiatives.”

During the crackdown, police also caught seven motorists driving without insurance, two without a license, two with vehicle defects two motorcyclists riding without helmets.

Operation Guardian, the name given to Friday's crackdown, was carried out under the aegis of Suffolk Roadsafe, a group of agencies which have combined in an attempt to make the county's roads safer.