Earlier this month, Sussex Police launched its annual summer campaign to tackle road safety issues and positively influence drivers and motorcyclists to drive responsibly, considerately, and safely.
Every weekend between April and September officers from teams across the force will take part in the dedicated operation, providing a highly visible presence on the road network in Sussex and taking enforcement action where necessary.
Police are still seeing too many distracted, dangerous, and inconsiderate drivers, and communities are fed-up with motorists and motorcyclists behaving badly on our roads.
Tragically, in the first few months of this year we have seen an increase in the number of drivers and motorcyclists killed and injured in Sussex, this has had a devastating impact on families, individuals, and upon our communities.
Sussex Police aims to reduce the “fatal five” factors which lead to people being killed or seriously injured on our roads. The “fatal five” factors are: driving at inappropriate and excess speed, drink and/or drug-driving, not wearing a seatbelt, careless and anti-social driving, and being distracted while driving such as by using a mobile phone. Even a split second of distraction or poor driving can change lives forever.
Officers are urging bikers in particular to stay safe. Motorcyclists represent almost a quarter of all fatal and serious injury collisions – despite making up only five per cent of vehicles on our roads. Officers spotted a motorcyclist performing a wheelie on the A27 at 90mph. The same rider had pulled the same trick a few minutes earlier in front of an off-duty officer: he now faces court for dangerous driving, and his motorbike has been seized.
Superintendent James Collis, Head of Roads Policing, said: “We simply won't tolerate those who get their enjoyment by driving or riding anti-socially through the county at the expense of everyone else and we have a comprehensive plan to target those people who do so. We can't be everywhere, but we could be anywhere, and with increased numbers of officers, better equipment and more intelligence, those intent on driving dangerously can assume we are not far away. Officers will operate marked and unmarked vehicles using the latest technology, such as ANPR and drones, to capture offences”.
So far this month hundreds of drivers have been stopped, resulting in:
137 traffic offence reports or conditional fixed penalty notices being issued,
26 drivers reported for summons to court,
9 arrests for various driving offences, and several further arrests for drink and drug driving
25 Section 59 warnings for anti-social driving, and
5 vehicles seized for either insurance or driving licence issues or having no vehicle excise licence.
Officers will continue to target the roads where anti-social driving and speeding is a problem such as Eastbourne seafront, the A29 around the Bury Hill area, the A272 and the routes from Goodwood, near Chichester, on event days.
For more localised updates for your area, follow your local district on social media to find out what the teams have been doing to tackle localised problems on the roads that affect the community.
Commercial Vehicle Unit week of action
Officers from the Surrey and Sussex Commercial Vehicle Unit used an unmarked HGV lorry and unmarked police vehicles to detect those who were not in proper control of their vehicle.
Hundreds of drivers were stopped over mobile phone use at the wheel as part of a road safety campaign. Mobile phone use and being distracted while driving are two major factors in why people are killed or seriously injured on our roads each year. The Commercial Vehicle Unit used a lorry from National Highways as well as unmarked police vehicles to enforce road safety.
During a week of action as part of Operation Tramline, 173 vehicles were stopped. This included checks on 115 goods vehicles, of which 43 were HGVs.
Our officers found that of the 173 vehicles stopped, 105 were for offences related to mobile phone use. Find out more in our news story.
An 18-year-old driver from Hove pleaded guilty to drink driving and was banned for 17 months. His car was spotted driving erratically and he was stopped and found to be almost twice the legal alcohol limit.
Officers were notified of a stolen motorbike moving north out of Brighton on 23 March. Following a search, a suspect van was tracked to Croydon, and officers working together with the Specialist Enforcement Unit and the Metropolitan Police, were able to stop it and arrest the driver. Two motorbikes stolen from Brighton and Hove were found inside the van.
Great work from the Commercial Vehicle Unit on the A23 resulted in drivers being stopped and issued with fixed penalty notices or prohibitions for weight and other safety violations, including a petrol tanker without a fire extinguisher.
Having stopped a vehicle in Brighton, officers noticed a cuddly toy frog in the car. Upon closer inspection, the toy frog was discovered to contain a quantity of cannabis. The driver failed a roadside drug test and was arrested on suspicion of driving whilst over the drug limit, and for possession of cannabis.
Speed checks around the Ashdown Forest last month, led to 11 drivers being reported for speeding, one for driving without due care and attention and five section 59 warnings being recorded for anti-social driving.
The Commercial Vehicle Unit carried out joint operations with Rother District Council on the A21 at John’s Cross and A259 in Icklesham to tackle road safety and environmental issues like fly tipping. Drivers dealt with issues including insecure and dangerous loads, tyre offences, vehicles in a dangerous condition, overweight offences, and document offences including insurance and waste carriers’ licences.
A driver stopped in Uckfield in December appeared in court charged with driving whilst over the prescribed limit for a specified controlled drug, after failing a roadside drug test and being found to have illegal quantities of amphetamines in his system. He was banned from driving for twelve months and had to pay a fine.
Officers parked in our Community Engagement Van near Beachy Head; a known area for anti-social driving, where car enthusiasts, local residents and drivers had a chance to speak to with the police, with a view to gaining a better understanding of local community concerns. Officers spoke to scores of drivers about the effects of anti-social driving and deployed our speed indicator devices to highlight drivers’ speed behaviour. An unmarked police vehicle also patrolled the area and stopped several vehicles, a number of section 59 warnings for anti-social driving were issued.
Officers in an unmarked police car spotted a driver in Cooksbridge as he chatted on his mobile phone. He was issued with a ticket, which will result in a fine and six points on his driving licence.
The driver of a car stopped by officers in Crawley had no driving licence, insurance, or vehicle excise licence. To make matters worse, he tested positive for cannabis at the roadside and was arrested.
Officers stopped a tractor and trailer on the A24 at Washington and found the load of logs on the back to be dangerously insecure. The tractor’s driver turned out to have no licence and will now appear in court.
Community Speed Watch
Last month, Community Speed Watch volunteers continued to provide vital road safety education across the county, with over 1,000 hours undertaken by volunteers. Over 403 roadside sessions took place across 70 groups, all with the aim to improve road safety and reduce inappropriate speeds on the roads. If you are interested in supporting your local Community Speed Watch group, please get in touch with the team: [email protected]
SSRP Safety Camera Team
The Safety Camera Team continue to deliver high visibility enforcement to support local and national campaigns. Alongside speed offences detected via static and mobile camera enforcement, the Safety Camera Team are also equipped to detect further motoring offences, such as mobile phone use, and failure to wear a seatbelt. Throughout 2021, the Safety Camera Team have detected over 700 seatbelt offences. The SSRPs ‘Embrace Life’ video continues to raise awareness of the importance of wearing a seatbelt:
Engage with us
Operation Crackdown is a joint initiative run by Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and Sussex Police, which provides communities of Sussex an opportunity to report specific instances of anti-social driving, as well as abandoned vehicles on the road. In instances where there is sufficient evidence, road users are contacted and educated by Sussex Police to highlight the impact of ant-social behaviour on the roads on the wider community. All reports provide a vital oversight of when and where anti-social driving incidents are taking place, assisting in the long term operational strategy of colleagues within SSRP and Sussex Police.
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