Drink drivers targeted in rush hour clampdown
DRINK drivers were being targeted in a co-ordinated day of action by community speedwatch and roads policing teams across Wiltshire this morning.
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, was stationed in New Road near the Chiseldon House Hotel, where the Chiseldon Community Speedwatch (CSW) team were measuring speeds down the 30mph road.
With vehicles being tracked between 8am and 9am, the rush hour traffic produced a 40 per cent return of motorists over the speed limit.
With support from Sergeant Barrie Card, a member of the Roads Policing Unit at Wiltshire Police, each vehicle speeding was pulled over and the driver breathalysed in line with the Force’s Christmas Drink Drive campaign.
No drivers were prosecuted for drink driving during the one-hour period, but the day of action, as a part of the long-term Operation Harness, was seen as significant in raising awareness of the dangers of driving the morning after consuming alcohol.
The PCC said: “They are pulling over people who are speeding and breathalysing them as part of the campaign against those driving the morning after with too much booze in their system.
“This is a road the Speedwatch has expressed concerns about in the past.
“Today is a part of the way in which Speedwatch is developing, with more support from the Roads Policing Unit.
“Regular offenders will be getting visits and letters from the Constabulary. The volunteers give their time for free and they need to know that there is some action behind their efforts.”
The Chiseldon CSW are out on the roads around their village once a week, in New Road, Hodson Road and Badbury amongst other notorious hotspots.
The team is now up to six members, with four in attendance at today’s day of action. Chris Rawlings, 70, is the co-ordinator of the team of volunteers.
He said: “This monitoring is very much important because the trouble with this road is it’s very straight, and at this time of the morning there are children going to school whilst there have been drivers we’ve clocked in excess of 60mph before.
“We feel as though we are doing a public service, especially with the results we have been getting.
“The record for our speedwatch on this particular stretch of road is 54 vehicles going faster than 40mph in one hour.”
The volunteers of this Speedwatch programme cannot prosecute those they record at excessive speeds. Registration plates and a description of the car are logged, with letters being sent out to motorists’ home addresses.
At the arrival of the third letter, the driver will receive a visit from police, who offer stern advice on the spate of speeding. Even they, at that stage, cannot prosecute because the speeding has not been officially recorded by them.
However, Sgt Card said the police would attempt to catch persistent offenders in the act by tracking any trends in the motorist’s speeding and try to catch them with their own cameras.
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