The mother of an 18-year-old who died in an horrific road crash has spoken movingly about the night she lost her son. Maggs Wells described her emotions as part of a police campaign to encourage young drivers to be safer on the roads.
A disproportionately high number of road crashes involve new and young drivers. That's why a hard-hitting Thames Valley Police roadshow is being shown to thousands of teenagers. From Reading's Hexagon Theatre, Chris Maughan reports.
Tragically people die because they’ve taken risks and attempted to drive through flood water just to save a few minutes. Flood water is dangerous, dirty and it can carry disease. If there is widespread flooding in your area then don’t travel and if a road is closed then turn around and make a detour. Your journey could take you a little longer but making the right decision could ultimately save your life.
– Phil Rothwell, head of Flood Strategy and Engagement at the Environment Agency
A survey of drivers across the South East has revealed that more than one in ten (11%) would risk driving down a road with moving flood water rather than take a detour, despite the official guidance being to avoid driving through moving flood water.
The survey also revealed that 26% would drive through moving flood water deeper than 30cm, which is enough to move a car. The Environment Agency and the AA strongly advise not entering flood water that is moving or more than 10cm deep.
A third of flood-related deaths involve a vehicle because drivers take unnecessary risks.
Last year, the second wettest on record in the UK, the AA rescued almost 9,000 vehicles that had driven through or were stuck in flood water, with an estimated insurance bill of more than £34 million.
A five day crackdown by police has revealed shocking examples of dangerous driving. Drivers were filmed reading newspapers, doing their make-up and even playing with i-pads behind the wheel.
'Operation Tramline' caught almost 200 drivers taking stupid risks on the A34 and M4 In Berkshire, on the M40 in Oxfordshire and M27 and M3 in Hampshire. Juliette Fletcher spoke to Sergeant Paul Diamond from the Roads Policing Unit.
Operation Tramline resulted in a total of 198 motorists being being prosecuted for driving offences, most of them driving whilst distracted. The faces of the offending motorists have been obscured to prevent them being identified, because each still has the right to contest the prosecution
Sergeant Paul Dimond, who co-ordinated Operation Tramline, said:“Distracted driving is proven to be a significant factor in many of the collisions on our roads. It is one of the 'fatal four' causes of road deaths and collisions in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. "
"Through innovative use of equipment and technology available to us, we will continue to crack down on this and will repeat Operation Tramline again in the future."
Other behaviour by motorists spotted by the Tramline team included:Two van drivers reading newspapers whilst they drove. One person reading a map on the steering wheel. Two drivers using iPads (one on the steering wheel) whilst they drove. One driver using a laptop.
One van driver seen accessing Facebook on her mobile phone whilst driving on the M27. 126 motorists were using their mobile phones, 25 were people distracted by other means. A total of 25 lorry drivers were evidenced using their phones with another six being distracted by other means.