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Over 2,000 drivers caught breaking the law – in just one week!

Pioneering cameras that catch drivers on their phone trialled in Devon & Cornwall

More than 2,000 people in Devon and Cornwall have been caught speeding, using mobile phones while driving and not wearing seatbelts – in just one week.

The Vision Zero South West road safety partnership has released the figures following a week of action to mark the national Brake Road Safety week.

Throughout the week (Nov 14-19) Devon and Cornwall Police have deployed the state-of-the-art Aecom camera system at key locations across both counties. The technology uses AI to detect mobile phone offences and people not wearing seatbelts.

Speed Detection Officers have also been out in force at speeding hotspots, along with Road Casualty Reduction Officers and volunteer members of the Community Speedwatch scheme.

Here’s an overview of the offences detected during Road Safety Week (since Monday):

  • Speed Detection Officers have detected 867 speeding offences across both counties
  • Fixed spot speed cameras in Devon and Cornwall have detected 1,073 offences, while average speed cameras have detected 35 offences
  • Community Speedwatch Teams detected 82 speeding offences (35 in Devon, 47 in Cornwall)
  • The Aecom camera system detected 101 people not wearing seatbelts and 9 drivers using their mobile phones illegally

Chief Inspector Ben Asprey of the Alliance Roads Policing Team said the figures were alarming.

He said: “Since the end of September, the Aecom camera system has caught 40 people driving while using mobile phones and a shocking 590 people not wearing seatbelts.

“We understand that both offences are contributory factors in serious injury collisions – and you are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash if you are not wearing a seatbelt. You may think this is common sense, but still there are people out there failing to comply with the law.

“Similarly, we know that travelling too fast gives you less time to react and increases the risk of serious injury for those involved in a collision, especially vulnerable road users.

“I want to make it clear that the action we have taken this week is nothing out of the ordinary.  Our roads policing officers and speed detection teams are out on the road every single week, so please don’t think that this is a one-off.

“Last year, 47 people were killed and 647 were seriously injured on our roads. Every single one of these is a tragedy that we want to avoid.  These are not just numbers, these are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, children, best friends and loved ones.

“Please drive within the speed limits, put your phone out of sight so you won’t be tempted to use it, or set your phones mode to do not distract– and always wear a seatbelt.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, vice chairman of Vision Zero South West and Devon County Council’s cabinet member for Highway Management, said: “These figures show there is still much to be done in Devon and Cornwall when it comes to educating motorists about road safety.

“Vision Zero South West wants to halve the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads by 2030 – and eventually, reduce that number to zero.

“We know this is an ambitious target, but it’s one we are determined to achieve. As a partnership, we are working hard to save lives by investing in road safety infrastructure, devising innovative new projects to protect drivers and consulting communities about where they feel action is needed.”

As well enforcement, members of the Vision Zero South West partnership also engaged in driver education throughout Road Safety Week.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service hosted engagement events, conducted Learn2Live sessions for college students in Torbay and also held Biker Down motorcyclist training events in Exeter.

Brake chief executive Mary Williams OBE said: “Road crashes devastate families who are bereaved and seriously injured. Road Safety Week is an opportunity for everyone – including drivers, and also employers, and community leaders – to come together and make roads safe for all, particularly the most vulnerable.

“Drivers can follow the Highway Code; slowing down and giving people space is vital for safety. Employers can implement safe driving policies for their employees. Community leaders can work with their local authorities for measures that protect people, such as cycle paths.

“Road casualties are an appalling carnage that can and must end, through us all taking the right steps.”