Dangerous driving targeted to protect vulnerable road users in week-long Project EDWARD campaign

Date published: 22 September 2021 13:01
Dated: 22 September 2021 08:51:38

Safe passing operations, speedwatch groups, an unmarked HGV and Paralympics royalty all combined to highlight road safety last week as South Yorkshire Police took part in the latest Project EDWARD action campaign.

Project EDWARD – which stands for Every Day Without A Road Death - is a national campaign that aims to reduce the number of deaths on roads across the UK and asked you as members of the public to support their work and get involved.

All events took place supporting the South Yorkshire Safer Roads partnership, of which the force is a member.

The first event, held on Saturday 11 September, kicked off the week of action with a safe passing operation and information stall as part of the Fox Valley Festival of Cycling in Sheffield, offering advice to cyclists and drivers alike. These events are a useful occasion to help road users recognise what they can do to help each other use the roads together.

The following Monday saw the SYP Mounted Unit out and about in Barnsley West alongside the British Horse Society, spreading the messaging around protecting horse riders on the region's roads and using the hashtag #thinkhorsethink15 on social media. They chatted to road users and surprised many members of their public who weren't expecting to see them.

The Sheffield North East team were also out and about around Shiregreen Surgery and Wincobank Village Hall and school running a speedwatch operation on busy roads.

They were also back out on the following day, on the roads around Longley Hall College and High Greave and Barnsley Road.

Officers were out conducting speed patrols across Doncaster town centre on Wednesday 15 September. With speeding one of the most common contributing factors of crashes that cause serious injury or death on our roads, we remain committed to tackling the issue.

It was a productive day for the team, ending it with nine vehicles seized for offences such as driving without a licence or insurance, no MOT or valid tax, or failing to stop when requested by the officers. One of those stopped was actually on the way to their driving test.

One motorbike rider was found to be carrying a pillion passenger who wasn’t wearing a helmet, while two drivers were arrested for being under the influence of drugs while driving and arrested before being released under investigation.

The Sheffield North East team were also back out with their speed cameras. This time they were outside Beck Road Primary School and then close to Longley Hall College. Over their six hours at the roadside in total over the week, they detected 84 vehicles that were travelling just over the speed limit and they are receiving a formal warning through the post.

On two occasion they stopped offenders driving well in excess of the speed limit - with one of these clocking up 50mph in a 30mph speed limit zone. The driver is now facing the prospect of a large fine and a potential driving ban when they appear at court.

The other driver also received a Traffic Offence Report for excessive speed, while engagement also took place with pupils, teachers and students at Beck Primary School in Shiregreen.

And on the morning of Friday 17 September, there was a joint working safe pass operation carried out by Roads Policing Group officers and the SYP Mounted unit as well as the British Horse Society. This time, it highlighted the vulnerability of multiple road users and the risks posed to using the roads for each member of those communities.

In the afternoon, Paralympic swimming and cycling hero, and the Sheffield City Region’s Active Travel Commissioner, Dame Sarah Storey joined the Sheffield North West Neighbourhood Policing Team. They were at Deepcar St John’s Primary School to give a talk to young cyclists undertaking a session as part of the national Bikeability scheme - which helps youngsters gain important cycling proficiency while having some fun in the saddle.

Following that, Dame Sarah and the team headed out of Sheffield to the A57 Manchester Road for a safe passing operation on their bikes. In total, 25 motorists were pulled over and spoken to in the two-hour event. Five more will be receiving a Notice of Intended Prosecution through the post as they were not stopped at the time.

In total there were 10 prosecutions for offences such as driving without due care and attention and contravening double white lines. Three motorists were also issued with warnings under the Police Reform Act which means if they are found to be using their vehicles in an antisocial or careless manner again within the next 12 months then they can be seized to reduce the danger they pose to other road users.

Other actions throughout the week included the unmarked Highways HGV patrolling the roads looking for motorists driving dangerously, and Roads Policing Group officers performing, among other things, high visibility patrols outside schools to provide reassurance, holding bike safety workshops, stopping defective vehicles and recovering stolen vehicles.

South Yorkshire’s Roads Policing Inspector Jason Booth was at the joint working safe passing operation on the Friday morning and said: “So many people were really good and gave the horses a wide berth. For those that didn’t, we were there to give them advice on safe driving so as to protect all road users in future.

“We were pleased as a force to be able to support this initiative once again as it drives home the values that we believe in while policing the roads on a day-to-day basis. One death on the road is too many and all road users need protecting from those who choose to use the highways in a dangerous or careless manner.

“We hope that those spoken to throughout the week will take the advice on board and improve their driving habits in the future. And we hope that those facing a potential prosecution serve as a warning to others that inconsiderate or dangerous driving will not be tolerated.”

Joanne Wehrle, South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership Education Manager, said: “We fully support Project EDWARD, working towards Every Day Without a Road Death. Too many road traffic collisions result in a needless loss of life and this should not be accepted as an inevitable side effect of our use of the roads.

"We all hold the power to prevent traffic collisions by our actions, sticking to the rules of the road and looking out for other road users. Project EDWARD brings this into focus and highlights the important work that partners are doing every day to try and keep all road users safer on the network.”

The national Project EDWARD campaign includes a pledge that all road users can adopt to make the roads a safer place for all users. It states: ‘I pledge that I will play my part in reducing risk by ensuring I am fit for the road on all journeys. I will drive within the rules of the Highway Code in a safe and well-maintained vehicle.’

For more on Project EDWARD visit https://projectedward.org/, and for more on the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, visit https://sysrp.co.uk/

South Yorkshire Police’s Operations Unit will continue to put out updates on how they are protecting all road users. They can be followed on Facebook @sypoperationalsupport, Twitter @SYPOperations and Instagram @syp_ops.

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