NEW figures released by police show how many people died in fatal crashes, including in Worcestershire and some of the causes including mobile phones and not wearing a seatbelt.

Last year, across our police force area, 56 people lost their lives in collisions and 468 people suffered serious injuries across the West Mercia Police force area, including in Worcestershire.

Common cause include: speeding or inappropriate speed; distractions, such as mobile phone; driving under the influence of drink or drugs; not wearing a seatbelt.

Throughout July the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) will be focusing on ‘Operation Spotlight’. The national operation will recognise the significant contributory factor these issues have in road traffic collisions and will highlight the work the force does to tackle these.

Speeding, as well as inappropriate speed, can have a devastating impact on the safety of road users, increasing the risk of a collision and the severity of the consequences. If prosecuted for speeding, the minimum penalty is a £100 fine and three penalty points.

Everyone knows it’s illegal to use a hand held mobile behind the wheel and motorists caught face a £200 fine and six points on their licence. Drivers caught twice face a lengthy ban – which could also lead to a £1,000 fine.

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While new drivers - those who have passed within the last two years - face having their licence revoked if caught just once. New legislation also makes it clearer that the law includes using phones for reasons such as internet use, checking notifications and uploading content whilst driving.

In the UK it is a legal requirement for drivers and passengers to wear a seatbelt, unless they have an exemption and it is the driver’s legal responsibility to ensure that any passenger under 14 years old is using the appropriate child restraint.

The operation will also raise awareness of the issues faced by cyclists and motorcycle riders on the roads, along with the impact of HGV use and will also highlight some of the ways we are now tackling these issues to support our day to day enforcement.

Supt Stu Bill said: “Everyone knows the rules around seatbelts, drink/drug driving and mobile phones and the importance of sticking to the speed limit and we are very clear that when you get behind the wheel it is your responsibility to stay focused and alert. The majority of drivers use the roads respectfully and adhere to the law but it is concerning that we still have some drivers across our area who are willing to risk it. Enforcing the law across our roads is a year round commitment for us to challenge this behaviour."

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “We are seeing too much harm being caused on our roads, and in most cases, it is completely avoidable. As PCC, I continue to ensure West Mercia Police has the resources it needs to put road safety at the heart of its work across the three counties. Operation Spotlight will be another opportunity to highlight the year-round focus to raise awareness of the ‘Fatal Four’ and enforce the law against those willing to putting themselves and others at risk.”