Clampdown on motorists who use mobile phones while driving

picture of a police car with light bar on stopping a carThe Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership in conjunction with the Staffordshire Police Roads Policing Team and local policing teams is carrying out the campaign which aims to highlight the dangers of using a handheld mobile phone while behind the wheel.

Over the next 2 months the team will be out in force in the highly visible yellow vans, capturing on camera people who are flouting the law.

Motorists caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving are given a £60 fine and three points on their licence. Police records show that 8,039 fines costing motorists over £480,000 were issued in Staffordshire between January 2010 and December 2011. Continue reading

Don’t be a dummy ““ know the dangers of smoking in cars

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service will be showing you how to avoid being a dummy next month – and cut down on your smoking into the bargain.

Two special “test dummies” will be helping with a demonstration at Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium on Saturday 7 August to highlight the dangers of smoking in cars. Both were part of a study done in the West Midlands to find out the damage done to people travelling in cars by fellow passengers or the driver.

As part of the demonstration, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue will be filling a car with “safe smoke” to show how it can circulate quickly in an enclosed space, and how it can affect those travelling in the car. It has been estimated that smoking just one cigarette in a car, even with the window open, creates a harmful concentration of tobacco smoke. The largely invisible smoke, clings to the car’s upholstery, children’s car seats and passengers, putting people at risk of serious illnesses.

A recent study carried out in the West Midlands shows that people who inhale cigarette smoke while they are in a car, can inhale as much as three times the amount that would be considered safe to inhale over the course of a day. Even with the car’s windows or air conditioning on, it didn’t reduce it by a significant amount. The toddler sized dolls used in the study and the results from the research will be on display on the day, to highlight the effects of second hand smoke, in particular, the harmful effects on children.

Councillor Terry Follows, cabinet member for environment, waste management and neighbourhood services, said: “People may think that just because they have the windows open or the air conditioning on, then it’s ok to smoke or be with someone who is smoking, but in reality, it could have a serious effect on your long term health.

Claire McIver from NHS Stoke on Trent said: “Passive smoking in children and young people is a significant problem locally with over 50% of young people in Stoke on Trent exposed to other people’s tobacco smoke in the car, and around 1/3 in the home. It can lead to bronchitis, asthma, inner ear infections and even worsened behavioural problems and child development.

In addition children who are regularly exposed to smoking in their homes and cars are three times more likely to take up smoking themselves. The best thing you can do to protect others from the dangers of passive smoking is to make your home and car completely smoke free.”

As part of the demonstration, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue will also be flooding a car with “safe smoke” to show how it can circulate quickly in an enclosed space, and how it can affect those travelling in a car.

Firefighter Jim Taaffe from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, added: “It is important that people are aware of the dangers of smoking whilst in the car, as not only can the smoke itself cause health problems but it is also a distraction to the driver.

“It is also important to bear in mind that other people smoking in your car could distract you just as easily and distractions whilst driving can lead to serious accidents.”

NHS Stoke on Trent is very keen to support initiatives like this. The Stoke on Trent Stop Smoking Service offers support to any smoker who wants to quit in a wide range of settings across the city. Stop smoking medicines (such as patches and gum) are available for the cost of a prescription (or free to those who don’t pay for prescriptions). For more information about free services available to you locally call 0800 085 0928.

Ten More Vehicles Seized In Stoke-on-Trent

Last Friday (4 June) officers from the Staffordshire Police Road Crime Team targeted illegal drivers in Stoke-on-Trent with their latest operation. 

ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) equipped vehicles were used to help identify vehicles likely to be committing road traffic offences or vehicles likely to be used in crime in the Cobridge and Etruria areas of the city including the main A53 Newcastle to Leek route.

The team were joined by specialists from VOSA and Customs and Excise.

The operation resulted in ten vehicles being seized by police for offences such as no insurance or no driving licence.  Thirty-one fixed penalty notices were also issued to drivers for offences relating to road safety and thirteen vehicles where issued with prohibition notices (by VOSA) preventing them from being driven on the road due to the dangerous condition.

Sgt. Steve Holt from the Road Crime Team said ‘Operations like the one on Friday have made a real difference over the last few years in help us to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the city’s roads by tackling those drivers who ignore the law.  We have more planned as we continue to target illegal road users.’

Officers from HM Customs are now investigating two drivers who were found to be running their vehicles on “ËœRed Diesel’ and therefore evading normal levels of fuel duty.


Comment By Nita

I’m going to have to break away from the political debate, so I can have a little rant about the shocking standard of driving across our city. I’m sure most of you will agree with me on this one!  None of us are perfect,  but there is the issue of making sure you drive safely.

Yet again today I was pulling away at the traffic lights (on green),  to realise that some bright spark coming the other way,  had decided that he/she was not stopping at the red lights and was coming through anyway.  Good job I realised, but it seems to be the normal at the moment. Â  I have noticed over the past few months how many drivers are simply ignoring the RED light and are going through anway.  Why?

The next two roads for shocking driving are the A50 and A500.  Both should be safe if people used them correctly, but safe driving seems to be ignored on these stretches of road. Â  Why do drivers decide it is okay to ignore the speed limit and drive in excess of  80-90 mph, and sometimes above?  Why do drivers think it is okay to not give themselves sufficient time to exit these roads?  Why do they think it is okay to leave it to the very last minute, and cut across lanes causing fellow drivers to brake like mad, narrowly missing causing a massive accident?   Now the other week, I was joining the A50 at the Meir Tunnel, traffic was extremely busy, and there was no way that I could see a gap to pop in and join the fast flowing traffic, so I made the mistake of stopping on the GIVE WAY line until it was safe to join, which seemed to annoy the driver behind, and he was having a bit of road rage at my actions.   Well, maybe I was in the wrong on this one?  Maybe I should have just simply joined the traffic, and caused the cars on the inside lane of the A5o to swerve or break causing a massive pile up? Â  Now I always thought that GIVE WAY lines meant just that? Â  I was taught that when joining a row of fast flowing traffic you should do so safely,  and without causing the traffic to break or swerve?  Maybe the Highway Code has changed?  Maybe it has new rules?  Maybe the new rules are, IGNORE the Give Way lines on the entrance to these road, and just join the fast flowing traffic and basically don’t worry whether you are doing so safely or not?  Maybe the new rules are, see how many cars have to swerve out of the way when you enter?

Roundabouts.  Well, these are another dangerous place to be.  There seems to be new rules on them too.  Don’t stop,  don’t give way,  just go, and it doesn’t matter if the person coming round has to break like mad, just as long as you get round yourself.  It would also appear that you have to go round these as fast as you can, no need to approach them with some caution.

Next.  The people that decide its cool to tailgate.  It would seem that some of our drivers want to have a closer look at our faces, and  to see what colour hair and eyes we have.  They get a bit of road rage if you dare to stick to the speed limit of the area you are driving in.  They will do anything to get round you, and do it they will.  Off they go, 60 mph, then low and behold you catch them up at the traffic lights.

Another one is, you pull over to let an ambulance through with flashing blue lights going, and the drivers  behind decide they are coming round you, totally oblivious to the approaching ambulance.  Time saves lives is all I can say on this one.

Mobile Phones.  It would seem that drivers still continue to ignore this law.  Most days you can make a journey and the driver behind is chatting away, and some 20 minutes later they are still doing so.  They are very often oblivious to the fact that you have become stationery, maybe at traffic lights or a crossing,  and they have to break missing you by a small fraction.

So, what do you think.  Am I going over the top on this, and our roads are pretty safe,  just with the odd idiot about or do we have a problem?