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Reckless drivers who put lives at risk by speeding near pedestrian crossings are being hit with tougher penalties as part of a West Midlands Police crackdown. 

Traffic officers are carrying out targeted operations in hotspot areas as part of a fresh drive to cut serious collisions. 

In 2018 there were 26 fatal collisions involving pedestrians, of which 15 were on or within 50 metres of a crossing. 

The WMP Road Harm Reduction Team is now pursuing those who break the limit, or act recklessly at the wheel, for the offence of driving without due care and attention. 

This offence carries a stronger sanction of at least seven penalty points compared to the minimum of three points for speeding.

The crackdown includes a police officer in a hi-vis jacket standing near a crossing to record the speed and obtain footage of oncoming traffic. 

Drivers who are travelling too fast – and who may struggle to react in time to stop if the traffic lights change – are then pulled over by nearby cops. They are warned about the dangers of their actions at the wheel and notified they’re being summonsed to court for driving without due care and attention.

The operation is being trialled through the Police Led Prosecutions Team – which has discretion to prosecute road traffic offences – and the Traffic Investigation Unit who are processing the prosecutions on behalf of the team. 

During a trial run earlier this year there were 30 drivers summonsed to court for driving without due care and attention; of these 27 pleaded guilty and received between seven and nine points with some getting disqualified. The other three were found guilty of the offence at court and given penalty points and hefty fines.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Ashley Bertie said: “This operation is what the public have been asking for and this is us delivering on what they want.

“Cracking down on drivers who speed and reducing the number of injuries on the road is a priority for me. This operation is about ensuring that pedestrians are safe when crossing the road.

“I am committed to keeping our roads safe and campaigns like this are a vital tool to help us catch those who endanger the lives of others.

“The majority of motorists do drive responsibly, this operation is about cracking down on the minority who are putting lives at risk.

“Those who break the law and put people’s lives at risk will face the appropriate consequences.”

Sergeant Jon Butler, from the Road Harm Reduction Team, said: “A pedestrian crossing is where people should feel safe but unfortunately we regularly see collisions either on or near to them.

“Speed is often a factor and this operation is about enforcement, in order to change road user behaviour around areas of vulnerability; so drivers understand the potential consequences of their reckless actions. By driving too fast they may not see pedestrians waiting to cross or even be able to stop in time if the traffic lights change.

“Our priority is road safety and we are also educating pedestrians about keeping themselves safe; we also have another officer working with local authority road safety officers, speaking to people at crossings about being aware of traffic and potential dangers around them. 

“Crossings are often on main routes and in busy pedestrian footfall areas; we won’t tolerate driving that puts other lives at risk.”

Tanya Johnson, from the Police Led Prosecutions Team, added: “My team will be looking to prosecute motorists to the full extent of the law and will, where appropriate seek disqualification for motorists who commit inexcusable acts of driving without due care and attention. 

“The cases we have already prosecuted from the trial period to date have shown us that the magistrates are in full support of ensuring our roads are safe and those offending will be brought to justice.”

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