Operation Wightwash: Enforcement action taken across two days on the Isle of Wight to tackle driving offences
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Officers from the mainland-based Roads Policing Unit joined our Isle of Wight colleagues this week for a two-day enforcement operation on the Island’s Roads.
We have been listening to the concerns of Island residents around road safety, and we receive reports of driving standards issues such as speeding, mobile phone use and general poor driving.
Operation Wightwash has been stood up in recent years to bolster our efforts in intercepting drivers committing offences on Isle of Wight roads, and is run at regular intervals throughout the year.
This week, on 8 and 9 March, Wightwash commenced once again, and saw a number of motorists stopped and ticketed for a range of offences.
Across the two days, 78 tickets were given after officers observed people driving without seatbelts, contravening red lights, driving without a licence, not being in proper control of their vehicle, driving without due care and attention, and driving with tinted windows or visors.
Other offences observed and enforced included driving with insecure loads, altered exhausts, and vehicles driving either without a number plate at all or with number plates that did not conform to legal requirements.
Drivers were also unfortunately observed using their mobile phones behind the wheel, with 15 tickets handed out for this specifically.
Using a mobile phone behind the wheel is what we refer to as a ‘Fatal Four’ offence – these are the four poor driving habits that pose the greatest risk of leading to a serious or fatal collision, and include drink/drug driving, driving without a seatbelt, speeding, and mobile phone use whilst driving.
Operation Wightwash has this month coincided with a national campaign aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of using your phone behind the wheel.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary and Thames Valley Police's Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit has been supporting this campaign, which began on 27 February and runs until 12 March.
Our message to road users is simple – it’s not worth the risk.
Chief Inspector Alex Charge said: “It’s clear that there are public concerns around road safety and driving standards on the Isle of Wight. We want residents to be reassured that we are listening, we are actively tracking which areas are most affected, and we are working with partners to address matters on the road network.
“The work to tackle poor driving standards continues, with the combined efforts of the dedicated RPU, the dual skilled RP/ARV team, as well as Neighbourhoods teams and Response & Patrol teams who are collectively working together to address any issues as a priority under Operation Mile.
“We continue to encourage members of the public to report driving offences, and concerns around driving standards, to police so we can identify any hotspots and take action to keep road users safer.”
To make a report to police, call 101, or submit information via the report tool on the Hampshire Constabulary website. Always dial 999 in the event of an emergency.