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Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescuer service work in conjunction with a number of organisations and through a variety of initiatives to protect road users, including car drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians throughout our service area.
Here you can get an overview of some of these as well as further information via the provided links to their websites.
What are the Fatal 5?
Road users who commit one of the Fatal 5 offences are far more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than those who do not.
People can die on our roads as a result of motorists’ poor driving, reckless decisions and momentary lapses in concentration.
Fatal collisions are heart-breaking - for the family, for the community, and for the responding emergency services staff who have to witness the tragedy and subsequent aftermath.
Stopping any more deaths from occurring as a result of something unnecessary and totally avoidable is a top priority for us.
1: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
The penalties for drink and drug driving are the same. You will receive:
- A 12-month driving ban
- An unlimited fine
- Up to 6 months in prison
- A criminal record
A driver found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving will go to prison for up to 14 years. A conviction for drug driving is shown on your driving license for 11 years. If you drive for work, your employer will see the conviction when you show them your license.
What's the legal limit?
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the legal alcohol limit for drivers is:
- 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood in your body
- 35 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath
- 107 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of urine
However, police recommend that if you're drinking any alcohol, let someone else do the driving.
2: Excess or inappropriate speed
Here are some tips to help stay within the speed limit:
- Check your speedometer regularly.
- Know the limits - look for signs, especially at junctions.
- Street lighting means 30mph, until signs say otherwise.
- Try using 3rd gear in a 30mph limit to help you stay within the limit.
3: Careless and inconsiderate driving
There is no standard list that would be considered as careless or inconsiderate driving, however, the General Advice section of the Highway Code provides some good examples. For example, Rule 147: Be considerate, Rule 148: Safe driving and riding needs concentration and Rule 150: You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. Any breach of the Highway Code could be treated as an offence if seen by officers.
Examples of dangerous behaviours that the No Excuse team would stop you for include:
- Driving too close to the vehicle in front
- Failing to give way at a junction
- Inappropriate speed for the road and conditions, even if within the speed limit
- Operating a Sat Nav while driving
- Eating and drinking at the wheel
- Under-taking or dangerous over-taking
4: Failure to wear seatbelts
By law, you must wear a seatbelt in cars and goods vehicles where one is fitted. There are very few exceptions to this. The driver is liable to prosecution if a child under 14 years does not wear a seat belt or child restraint as required. The only situations when you don't need to wear a seatbelt are if you're:- A driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing.- In a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services.- A passenger in a trade vehicle and you're investigating a fault.- Driving a goods vehicle on deliveries that is travelling no more than 50 metres between stops.- A licensed taxi driver who is 'plying for hire' or carrying passengers.- If you are medically exempt from wearing a seat belt, when your doctor will give you a 'Certificate of Exemption'.
5: Driver using a hand-held mobile phone
It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving a vehicle, riding a motorcycle or supervising a learner. The penalty for doing so is £100 and 3 penalty points and if the case goes to court, you will face a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 for good vehicle drivers), disqualification and 3 points. On top of all that, your insurance could also go up.
What should you do? Either switch off your phone or divert to voicemail, before setting off. If your phone does ring, leave it and pick up any messages and make calls once you are safely parked with the engine switched off and keys out of the ignition.
Did you know? Research has shown that those using a mobile phone while driving are four times more likely to crash than someone who isn't. Even though hands-free kits are legal, it is also worth knowing that tests have shown people using these kits can be as distracted as if they were driving drunk.
This is a full day's course aimed at young road users 16 - 25 yr olds. The morning session consists of a hard-hitting presentation and group a discussion including stats and information. In the afternoon, the participants get the opportunity to drive around a circuit on a go cart where they are asked to wear beer goggles and then asked to write a text while driving around the circuit, this demonstrates how difficult it is to drive under such influences. To finish of the course, they watch an immersive 360 film through virtual reality goggles.
The course covers all aspects of the 'Fatal Five' and is well received.
This is an enhanced Pass Plus Driving Course which is available to new drivers holding a full driving licence aged between 17-25. The course has been developed to offer a lot more than the basic Pass Plus scheme, building driving skills e.g. night driving, driving on motorways and knowledge and hazard awareness, the course should lower the risk of being involved in collision.
Visit the Pass Plus Cymru website for more information and details on how to book on a course.
This project takes place over five days and is delivered at Fire Stations and in the Hillside Secure Young Person’s Center. It involves the Fire and Rescue Services, Police and youth agencies delivering team building, citizenship and road safety education to “at risk” young people many of whose disposition is primarily towards risk taking, and vehicle related offences.
Delivered in Partnership with the Police where drivers who commit the offence of not wearing a seat belt, are offered education rather than a fine, and penalty points.
This is a hard hitting programme aimed at raising Road Safety Awareness amongst young people in the 16-25 age categories, particularly those at high risk of injury or death through road traffic collisions.
Crash Scene Incident consists of a hard-hitting road safety presentation delivered by local road safety officers, Police and Fire and Rescue Service staff. It is directed at small groups and is delivered in a rotation of approximately 30-minute duration.
This is a multiagency pre- driver education project directed primarily at year 11 – 13 school pupils and tertiary colleges.
Visit the Deadly Mates website for more information.
Being 'Blue Light Aware'
Driving on the roads of Mid and West Wales and hear sirens and see blue lights?
How should you react?
What should you do?
The golden rules are:
CALM: Don’t panic or speed up in an attempt to get out of the way. Don't go through red lights or veer into a bus lane as you will still be prosecuted. Do not attempt to outrun a fire engine. You are not allowed to drive down the hard shoulder. You will still be breaking the law.
ALERT: Turn distracting music down and check mirrors to help determine the direction and number of emergency vehicles. Look for somewhere safe to pull in but avoid kerbs, pavements, bends and junctions. Watch out for other motorists braking suddenly.
RESPONSE: Indicate, check your mirror and move to the left when it is safe to do so. Wait patiently to ensure all emergency vehicles have gone and then safely move back out into traffic.
In addition to these guidelines the public are urged to give a stationary emergency service vehicle a wide berth when moving around it.
It is never acceptable to park on the grounds of a fire station without a legitimate reason.
The Highway Code rule 219 states:
“You should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or traffic officer and incident support vehicles using flashing amber lights.
“When one approaches do not panic. Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs.
“If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop, but try to avoid stopping before the brow of a hill, a bend or narrow section of road.
“Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb.
“Do not brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as you.”
Blue Light Aware is a short video, produced on behalf of the emergency services. Emergency crews rely on the help of other road users when they're on a 'blue light' response.