Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Police to Referee Roads

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Police to Referee Roads

Article excerpt

Bad drivers in the North-East are to be given football-style red and yellow cards in an effort to reduce the number of crashes.

Northumbria Police's Routemaster scheme, which is being launched today, will see traffic officers targeting main commuter routes at rush hour times and cracking down on a range of bad driving practices.

Officers will be encouraged to pull over motorists who are tailgating, coasting in the overtaking lane, using fog lights unnecessarily and driving without proper control.

Minor infringements will see drivers get a yellow card, after which police will give them advice on better driving, while more serious and repeat offenders will get a red card requiring them to either take a driving course at their own cost or be prosecuted.

The scheme has been introduced to cut the number of deaths and injuries on Northumbria's roads, after 30 motorists died in the area last year.

Motoring groups welcomed the scheme, but said the corrective driving course should not be used as a means of raising revenue.

Northumbria Police's motor patrols chief inspector Neil Minto said: "The idea behind Routemaster is to educate motorists about driving behaviour they may be unaware of and so may also have committed in the past.

"The vast majority of collisions are caused by driver behaviour rather than defective vehicles and roads. By raising awareness it will help towards reducing road casualties and ultimately make Northumbria's roads safer to travel on."

The scheme will be run at all times but is being targeted at the main commuter routes between 7am and 10am, and 4pm-6pm.

Speeding and deliberate dangerous driving will continue to be punished with fixed penalties and prosecutions, but drivers given red cards will have to go on a pounds 155, two-day driving course if they want to avoid fines and penalty points. …

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