Hammer DRoPs on pavement drivers
A crackdown has been launched against impatient motorists with a warning that they could face prison time for endangering lives by driving along pavements to overtake bin lorries.
Wakefield District has today joined a national campaign named DRoP – Driving Recklessly on Pavements – to capture and prosecute careless drivers.
Some binmen have been struck by vehicles as unconscionable motorists speed along pavements while others and members of the public have had near misses in Wakefield and across the country.
Bin lorries and cleaning vehicles in Wakefield have been fitted with CCTV on all sides of the vehicle to capture motorists in the act. New campaign livery have are also being installed to inform drivers.
Footage collected from other areas of the UK shows a mother and her baby in a pram almost being struck by a car while binmen returning the wheelie bins were struck by vehicles which did not stop after the collision. In another piece of unbelievable footage, one binman jumped behind a guard wall to avoid being struck by a truck speeding along the pavement.
The law makes it illegal to drive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency.
Cllr Maureen Cummings, Cabinet Member for Environment and Communities, said: “I appreciate that motorists are sometimes in a hurry and meeting a bin lorry slowing down a free flow of traffic may stress them. However, taking shortcuts along pavements can have unintended and life-changing consequences for so many people. They can knock down, seriously injure or kill members of the public or our staff and that can land them in jail for years. I want to appeal to motorists not to trade patience for safety. I support this campaign a thousand per cent and stand behind the police taking tough action to nip this bad behaviour in the bud and prosecuting offenders to the fullest extent of the law.”
Inspector Richard Clare, West Yorkshire Police, said: “West Yorkshire Police are proud to be working in partnership with Wakefield Council to improve the safety of refuse collectors and members of the public. We will be reviewing the CCTV provided by the Council, and seek to prosecute offenders wherever possible. This is purely about drivers being in a hurry, and we simply ask drivers to use patience, not pavements.”
The waste management company, Biffa, has estimated that there are 30,000 incidents a month in the waste industry alone across the UK while the Department for Transport statistics show that there has been an average of 2,500 accidents between pedestrians and vehicles on pavements each year.
In Wakefield District, over the last 18 months, there has been an average of one incident every two months. It is believed that the number of incidents is higher due to under-reporting.
There is a number of offences that a driver can be charged with for driving on a pavement with the most severe carrying a prison term of 14 years.