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Northamptonshire use first unmarked vehicle to tackle RTCs

Northamptonshire will use their first unmarked mobile enforcement vehicle after statistics have shown an increase in deaths following traffic accidents.

Northamptonshire’s Safer Road Team will begin using an unmarked enforcement vehicle following an increase in fatalities on the county’s roads. 

The force has recorded more than 40 fatalities in the past 12 months - up from 29 in 2021. 

So far this year, 50,991 motoring offences detected within the county have included one of the ‘Fatal Five’ - careless driving, excessive speed, using a mobile phone, not wearing a seat belt and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Last year, exceeding the speed limit was found to be one of the top four main contributory factors in collisions across Northamptonshire. 

Anyone caught by the enforcement vehicle committing one of the ‘Fatal Five’ offences would either be offered an online education course if eligible or receive a fixed penalty fine (£300) and three points added to their licence. 

Alternatively, if the case ends up in court, a range of penalties are available for judges to impose.

The force does not profit from fixed penalty notices and court fines. However, cost recovery fees of £45 are received by the force for each completion of the speed awareness course. The funds can only be put towards road safety initiatives - such as interventions, educational materials for schools or subsidised training for vulnerable or at risk groups.

Northamptonshire Police Safer Roads Operations Manager, Matt O’Connell added: “We know that people change their driving behaviour when they see a marked police vehicle and using unmarked vehicles is nothing new. However, this is the first time we’ve adopted this approach when it comes to mobile enforcement.

“It’s easy to criticise this approach as being motivated by ticket numbers or revenue, however we see, all too often, the devastating consequences the loss of a loved one has on those left behind to pick up the pieces.

“We’re not going to apologise for the how we police our roads if it means that we take the most dangerous drivers off them, especially if it means that we stop just one person from being killed or having to come to terms with a life changing injury.

“However, with the level of offending across the county, we need to do something different, and the use of unmarked enforcement vehicles might make people think twice before taking unnecessary risks in Northamptonshire.”

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