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Police intervene as motorists put themselves and others at risk on M5

  • 18 people driving without a seat belt
  • 1 driver using a mobile phone at the wheel
  • 3 cases of driving with an insecure load
  • 1 driving on the hard shoulder of the motorway

These were among 25 offences spotted by Avon and Somerset Police officers on the M5 motorway across two days in September, as they patrolled in an unmarked National Highways HGV cab.

Offences were filmed and vehicles were stopped by supporting police vehicles following the HGV, leading to fines and licence points for those driving dangerously.

The two days of action came as part of Op Peninsula, a multi-agency campaign to improve safety and safe driving behaviours in the South West.  The operation saw Avon and Somerset Police team up with National Highways, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Devon and Cornwall Police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

In total 240 offences were recorded on the South West’s motorways during the operation.

In one instance, Avon and Somerset police officers filmed a car take to the hard shoulder to avoid sitting in queueing traffic.

The car driver has since received a traffic summons.

According to Department for Transport figures, more than 100 people are killed or seriously injured each year on the hard shoulders of UK motorways. There are only two legal uses for the hard shoulder – as a lane for emergency vehicles attending an incident and as a refuge for broken down vehicles.  Using it at any other time unless instructed to do so by traffic officers or roadwork signs can result in a £100 fine and three licence points.  Stopping because a passenger feels unwell or needs the toilet, to use a mobile phone or because of feeling tired are not acceptable uses for the hard shoulder. It should also not be used to bypass traffic jams.

Acting Sergeant Martyn Truscott of our Roads Policing Unit says:

“It was disappointing to see some motorists indulging in poor and illegal driving behaviours that selfishly put the lives of others are risk.

“We hope that awareness of our operation and a reminder that we police our roads using patrol cars and unmarked vehicles will remind drivers to check their own behaviours. 

“Safety is our priority and we continue to work proactively to monitor and take action against those putting others are risk”.

Other agencies taking part in the fortnight of action included Somerset Road Safety and Devon and Somerset Fire Service.  They joined our roads policing officers, National Highways’ traffic officers and the DVSA at a Fit for the Road safety event at Taunton Deane Services, raising awareness of the importance of tyre checks and other safety tips.

Members of the public can report dangerous driving and submit dashcam footage via our website: Report | Avon and Somerset Police