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15 July 2010, 08:10
The Head of Road Safety for Dorset has been telling HEART their big campaign to cut down on accidents IS working...
Rob Smith is behind the 'No Excuse' campaign, which since January, has seen 8000 people fined for things like not wearing a seatbelt and talking on their mobile phones:
"In 2008 we were averaging 24 people killed or seriously injured every month in road accidents here. In 2009 that went down to about 22 and this year it's down to 18 a month. It's still 18 too many but it is a significant reduction and we put that largely down to 'No Excuse'.
"The year target is to get numbers down to under 200, which we're on course to do. The final figures will be available in early 2011, but already all the partners are considering to extend it beyond the original year plan."
Yesterday the campaign focused on one of Dorset's busiest roads, including the A35 Upton Bypass, Castle Lane West to the Cooper Dean roundabout and the Dorset Way.
Officers handed out 100 tickets to dangerous drivers and of these, around 60% were people not wearing a seatbelt either while driving or as a passenger.
People using a mobile phone while driving accounted for 10%, while other offences included having no license, insurance or vehicle tax.
Speeding offences detected were minimal, while safety camera vans detected only 15 offences.
Those caught out yesterday were given the option of attending a driver education course at the LV Streetwise Centre in Bournemouth, or Upton House in Poole, instead of paying a £60 fine.
Here they met 22 year old Harriet Shaw from Wimborne, who was involved in a serious car accident last year.
Harriet tells HEART her story tends to shock people:
"The fact that they can see my scars and hear my story first hand - it makes it real. I nearly died twice at the scene of the accident, eventually I escaped with about nine broken bones, including every bone in my right arm and two places in my jaw, and one of my knee caps was completely shattered.
"The young guy in the car that hit me had just been changing a CD before he lost control. That's all it takes -one moment of distraction. I'm hoping I can help educate people to be more aware when they're driving."
For more information about Dorset Road Safe and ‘no excuse’, go to: