Police to use mini cameras in bid to boost road safety

By Staff Copy
MINIATURE cameras are being used by North Yorkshire Police to make the county's roads safer.
The tiny cameras, which can be attached to a motorcyclist’s helmet, are similar to those used by actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman as they filmed their two epic bike journeys – Long Way Round and Long Way Down.

Now North Yorkshire Police’s motorcycling units are using the technology to investigate accidents and assess the safety of roads in the county, where 17 bikers were killed and 127 seriously injured last year.

The cameras are being employed as part of Operation Anvil, the force’s latest road safety campaign which is being carried out throughout the spring and summer.

North Yorkshire Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell said: "Last year three people were murdered in the county. That is three too many, but is a tiny figure compared with the 81 who died on the roads.

"We should never forget that each of these road deaths has devastating consequences for the family and friends left behind and the most worrying aspect is that so many could have easily been avoided."

Latest statistics have shown that the number of deaths on North Yorkshire’s roads for all motorists rose in 2007, although senior officers have stressed that the figure was slightly lower than the average for the past five years.

Last year’s death toll was 81, an increase of 12 on 2006, while a total of 727 people were seriously injured, down by 69 on the previous 12 months.

The county’s police force has been working alongside North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, health chiefs and local councils as part of the 95 Alive partnership, which is aiming to dramatically reduce the number of fatalities in road crashes.

The campaign was launched three years ago and remains on course to meet its target of keeping an extra 95 people alive up until 2010.

Footage taken by police motorcyclists using the new camera technology will be sent to North Yorkshire County Council’s highways engineers for analysis under schemes to improve road safety.

The cameras provide a motorcyclist’s view of the road and footage can be studied to establish what may have caused an accident or how road safety could be boosted.

A motorcycle strategy as part of the 95 Alive campaign will be launched on Sunday and further road safety checks will now be carried out by North Yorkshire Police officers both during the day and night as part of Operation Anvil.

Campaigns targeting all drivers using the county’s roads will also be conducted combining education with enforcement to reduce speeding, mobile phone use at the wheel and drink-driving.

Mr Maxwell said: "We have some wonderful countryside and coast as well as many tourist attractions within the county and my message is that North Yorkshire welcomes careful drivers and riders.

"But those who abuse the roads put themselves, their passengers, pedestrians and other road users at risk and will not be tolerated."

The full article contains 511 words and appears in Ripon Gazette newspaper.
Last Updated: 19 March 2008 10:47 AM