Staffordshire Police Crush 853 Uninsured Vehicles

Figures released by Staffordshire Police show that they seized 2,388 vehicles in the period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010 for having no insurance or licence.

Of these, 853 vehicles were taken of the road forever and crushed.

Chief Inspector Vera Bloor, from the force’s tactical support department said, ‘We are working hard to make Staffordshire’s roads safer. There are many problems associated with vehicles, and a key issue is drivers who are not licensed or insured for the vehicles they are in. Some vehicles also have major problems ““ such as tyre or brake defects ““ that could lead to them being involved in a collision causing injury or even death. If a driver without insurance is involved in a collision there are financial implications for victims and insurance companies.’

She continued ‘Another worrying implication is drivers without a licence are potentially more dangerous as they have not proved they have the basic driving skills needed to drive a vehicle safely. If people break road traffic legislation they could also be breaking other laws and often people caught are also arrested for their involvement in other crimes.’

The force’s road crime team and officers around the county carry out on-going operations to target anti-social use of vehicles, people using mobile phones whilst driving, not wearing a seatbelt, or driving a vehicle that is not in a roadworthy condition.

Officers use the Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system which tells them if a vehicle is insured, has a current tax and gives information that may show whether the driver is licensed to drive.

‘Some drivers cancel insurance payments after they have paid the first instalment and, if caught for an offence, produce the insurance certificate to police. But the ANPR system shows if the driver is not covered,’ added Ch Insp Bloor.

‘We also work closely with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Environment Agency on a variety of different operations that take place throughout the year. Our main aim is to reduce the number of road casualties and make Staffordshire roads even safer to use.’

If all the vehicles that were crushed were stacked on top of each other they would reach the same height of the Eiffel Tower or if parked up, they would cover the same area as 14 football pitches.

Christmas Drink Driving Campaign – 177 Arrested

A targeted campaign over Christmas and New Year aimed at getting drink-drivers off Staffordshire’s roads resulted in 177 arrests.

Staffordshire Police carried out 2,132 roadside breath tests between the 1 December 2009 and the 1 January 2010, resulting in a positive test rate of
8.2 per cent.

In all, some 5,000 vehicles were stopped ““ in addition to tests carried out at road traffic collisions.
The number of drivers breath-tested rose from last December’s figure of 1,832, when there were 80 people arrested (4.4 per cent) after being found to be over the legal limit.

Les Dyble, Traffic Management Officer for Staffordshire Police, said: “The number of vehicles stopped as part of this campaign reminded the public that we are serious about tackling drink-driving and the devastating affects it has on society.

“The public’s response to this more targeted enforcement has been very supportive. However the number of positive tests at the roadside is disappointing.

“Not all those drivers arrested during this campaign will end up in court; some would more than likely pass the second, evidential test at the police station.

“However, being arrested at the roadside, being taken to a police station and leaving passengers wondering how they were getting home will hopefully have
a lasting effect on those drivers.”

The force will continue to carry out breath test enforcement in this targeted manner throughout the year. The message is “ËœDon’t Drink and Drive’.

Car Parking & A New Bus Station

More car parking spaces lost in Hanley

Clough Street car park is to be closed to make way for the new Tesco store and the work to complete the ring road.

On 4 January 2010, almost exactly a year since Birch Terrace car park was closed due to ‘severe structural problems’, Clough Street will be closed as part of the Tesco development that the City Council seem to be pinning their hopes on to kick start the regeneration of Hanley, or as they would like it known ‘City Centre’.

The closure of Clough street will see the loss of 540 car parking spaces, drivers are being redirected to Clementsons Mill and Broad Street which have a combined total of 272 spaces.

New Bus Station
Once work starts on the new bus station, a further 291 spaces will be lost on John Street surface car park and depending on the design of the bus station there is a possibility that 560 spaces could be lost with the closure of John Street multi story car park.

Closure of John Street car park will have a massive affect on The Regent Theatre & Victoria Halls as these are the main parking areas for visitors to these venues. People travelling to the venues from out of town favour these as the are on the door step.

The council have today launched a design competition for the new Hanley Bus Station.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is inviting expressions of interest from companies to design a multi-million pound modern bus station in the heart of the city centre.

A multi-disciplinary team, including architects, engineers, and environmental experts, is being sought. Companies have until the end of January to register their interest.

A short-list of around four teams will then be selected in early February to prepare designs in order to compete for the contract.

A notice has been placed in the Official Journal of the European Union to attract expressions of interest. In Summer 2010 residents will get the chance to view the short-listed designs and comment on the aspects they would like to see in the final bus station. Once the design is finalised work is due to start on site in 2011.

Christmas Drink & Drug Driving Campaign Begins

The annual campaign to target drink and drug drivers in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has begun in a bid to cut fatal and serious road traffic collisions and protect other road users.

In last years campaign in Stoke-on-Trent officers recorded 21 positive breath tests out of a total of the 442 they carried out. This was a slight improvement on 2007/08 which saw 452 tests carried out, and 24 proving positive. It is hoped that this years campaign will see a further reduction in positive tests.

Les Dyble, Staffordshire Police’s Traffic Management Officer, said: “Police officers will carry out random road-side stop-checks on vehicles and their drivers during the campaign. Any driver that an officer suspects has consumed alcohol or drugs or has committed a moving traffic offence will be required to provide a road-side breath test for analysis. Motorists involved in road traffic collisions are also breath-tested as a matter of routine."

“People going out for a drink with friends or family, or even staying at home and having a drink but driving the next morning, should think of the consequences of drink driving. You should always ensure you are fit to drive. The more alcohol you consume the longer it takes to clear your body. Remember, you can’t calculate your own alcohol level, but the police can.”

Driving while under the influence of drink or drugs is dangerous, against the law and has short and long term consequences:

  • when you are caught you will be breath tested and, if positive, arrested
  • you will be taken to a police station and if the station test is positive, or you fail or refuse to provide a blood or urine sample, you will be charged
  • you will attend court and if found guilty, be banned from driving for at least 12 months. You will have to pay a hefty fine, court costs and may be given a prison sentence.

What happens next?

  • losing your licence may mean losing your job and your standard of living
  • you will lose the respect of friends and family and you will have a criminal record
  • you may be banned from travelling to some countries. When you can drive again you will pay a lot more for insurance cover.

If someone is seriously injured or killed as a result of your involvement in a road traffic collision, you could be charged with a more serious offence. The consequences of this could mean:

  • your driving ban will be longer
  • your fine will be bigger
  • you are more likely to go to prison
  • great trauma for the victims and families of those killed or seriously injured which will stay with you and them for the rest of their lives

Mr Dyble added: “You already know the consequences; you’ve read the Highway Code and passed your driving test. You should know that the law applies to you."

“Remember, drinking and drug driving is anti social, against the law and wrecks lives and families. The family could be yours."

“Is drink or drug driving worth the risk of these consequences?”

Operation Tintman

By Mike Rawlins

Motorists whose car windows have dangerous tints are to be targeted by police as part of a winter driving campaign. Operation Tintman aims to continue the work done by Staffordshire Police to reduce collisions on the roads.

Operation Tintman will be staged at three locations across the city between now and Christmas. Officers will be working from the mobile police station between 9am and 3pm on the following dates:

  • Saturday 14 November – Next to Pizza Hunt on Festival Park.
  • Saturday 5 December – Tesco Extra car park in Longton.
  • Saturday 19 December – Matalan car park, Tunstall.

Officers will be on site advising motorists on window tints throughout the day.   They will also be advising on the importance of using seatbelts and child restraints, and warning against the use of mobile phones and other hand-held devices whilst driving.  Throughout the day officers will be leaving notices on cars parked at the three locations which have potentially dangerous, or illegal, levels of window tint.

If motorists find a leaflet on their car they are invited to speak to an officer to get the vehicle checked over.

Sergeant Ian Revans, the division’s road policing sergeant, said “no action will be taken against drivers who voluntarily get their vehicle checked at the Operation Tintman events. We are giving motorists the chance to get the level of window tint checked on their vehicle, and take action if necessary, to avoid being in a collision and/or being prosecuted because of it. There have been collisions in Staffordshire where the level of window tint in a vehicle has proved to be a contributory factor. We are continuing to work with our partner agencies to drive down the number of serious and fatal collisions on the roads of Stoke-on-Trent. Through education and enforcement activities we are continually informing motorists of their responsibilities on the roads.”