Northern Ireland

Driving offences: Police announce major crackdown on motorists

Young motorist using a mobile phone while driving Image copyright PA
Image caption Motorists will be given a ticket for offences such as using a mobile phone while driving

Police in Northern Ireland have announced a zero-tolerance crackdown on a range of motoring offences following a rise in road deaths.

Officers have been instructed not to exercise discretion, but issue tickets for speeding and seatbelt offences and for using a mobile phone while driving.

The move was announced at a meeting of the Policing Board on Thursday.

It comes after 54 people died on Northern Ireland's roads since the start of the year.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption From Friday, failure to wear a seatbelt will result in a fine and penalty points

At the same point in 2012, 26 people had been killed. In the first eight months of 2013, 40 people had died on the roads.

A father whose son suffered catastrophic injuries in a speed-related traffic accident spoke about the impact it had had on his son and the family on the day the police crackdown began.

He said his son suffered horrendous injuries in the accident and although he had survived, his son was not the "same boy as he was".

'Firmer approach'

"He has made a good recovery, but he is certainly not the same boy as he was. His life is totally ruined," he said.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin told the Policing Board on Thursday that because of police concerns about the number of road deaths so far this year, they had decided to take a "firmer approach in relation to some offences on Northern Ireland's roads".

"From tomorrow, Friday 5th September, if you are caught speeding, if you are caught using a phone while driving, or if you are caught not wearing your seat belt, you can expect to get a ticket and that ticket will mean a £60 fine and three penalty points," ACC Martin said.

"We don't want to give you a ticket, we want to find you driving responsibly within the limitations of the road and within the posted speed limits - that's what we want to find.

"But, if we find that you are in breach of one of those three offences we will give you a ticket and we make no apology for that because we would much rather give you a ticket than be knocking your family's door to tell them you have lost your life on the road."

He said officers were being told to hit all offenders with tickets.

"Northern Ireland is a small place, we should not have 54 road deaths," he added

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