Top cop: Road law breakers cost lives

TODAY The Evening Star, alongside Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Police and other key agencies are fighting to save lives.

Naomi Cassidy

TODAY The Evening Star, alongside Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Police and other key agencies are fighting to save lives.

Our Save a Life campaign has been launched in a bid to cut deaths and serious injuries on the county roads.

For the next ten weeks we will focus on how drivers can keep safe on our roads as well as raising awareness of how accidents can destroy lives - not only of crash victims but also of those around them.

NAOMI CASSIDY reports.

A TOP police officer has today spoken of his frustration about the numbers of people breaking the law behind the wheel.

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Together with a team of officers who have been deployed throughout the roads in Suffolk, chief inspector of operations Martin Barnes-Smith is determined to stop people being involved in crashes, which could end in serious injury or death.

Since the start of September alone, more than 750 people have been caught for motoring offences, ranging from not wearing a seatbelt to drink driving.

Suffolk Constabulary forms a key part of the ten-week campaign, Save A Life, along with The Evening Star, Suffolk County Council and other key agencies, which was launched after there was a sharp rise in the numbers of people killed or seriously injured in road crashes.

It focuses on four core areas to tackle; speeding, using mobile phones, drink and drug driving, and not wearing seatbelts.

Ch Insp Barnes-Smith said: “From my point of view I find it a bit frustrating that so many people are prepared to make a conscious decision to put their lives at risk.

“The message we would like to put across is we are not doing this to chase targets or collect revenue. We are doing this to save lives.

“I'm a great believer that if a driver knows they will be caught and punished, they will stop doing it.

“I'm very passionate about this enforcement campaign.

“We hope it will change drivers' behaviour and that they will remember the moment they were stopped by a police officer.”

For the next couple of months, dedicated teams of officers will continue to be deployed across the county, focusing on collision hotspots.

Having being in the police force for well over two decades, Ch Insp Barnes-Smith is no stranger to seeing the devastating effects of a serious road accident at first hand.

He estimates that he has been at the scene of more than 100 fatal accidents, some of which have a lasting impact.

One of the incidents that is still in his thoughts was a fatal crash about eight years ago.

He said: “I can still remember a child screaming, 'I want my mum'. Her mum was seriously injured but her father and grandmother had been killed. She was still trapped in the car and didn't know what had happened.

“It ruins people's lives.”

- Have you or a family member been a victim of a serious road crash? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk