‘Brake tester’ prosecuted as police call for more dash cam footage
DANGROUS drivers are at greater risk of prosecution thanks to video supplied by the public, police have warned.
The West Midlands force revealed footage of a road rage driver who was prosecuted after pulling a hazardous “brake test” manoeuvre on a cyclist.
The cyclist was travelling on Holloway Bank near Witton Lane in Hill Top, West Bromwich, on October 15 last year when a Nissan Navarra jammed on its brakes moments after overtaking.
He swerved to avoid the pick-up but it again passed the 54-year-old before slowing and squeezing him up against the kerb.
But the offence was caught on the victim’s helmet-cam and passed to West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team which charged a 41-year-old, from Tipton, for driving without due care and attention.
He went on to admit the offence at court and was handed a fine and costs totalling £210 and had three points added to his licence.
The driver is the latest of more than 1,400 who have been prosecuted by West Midlands Police as a result of video evidence provided by members of the public.
Stuart Baker from the force’s Traffic Process Office expects that number to keep rising after the force launched a third party reporting website making it easier for road users to supply dash-cam and cycle-cam footage.
He said: “We’re receiving up to 80 submissions a month from members of the public into our Traffic Process Office where it is reviewed and a decision made over whether to prosecute. Until now people have been contacting us via email, handing over discs or alerting us to footage on social media. But we’ve now streamlined the process by launching an online portal where details of offences, photos and videos can be uploaded.”
The force has also used helmetcam video supplied by a cyclist who spotted a driver using his phone while driving in slow-moving traffic in Edgbaston in January.
A 41-year-old driver refused to accept the £200 fine and six licence points and the matter was taken to court ; he was eventually fined £1,000 and handed six points.
PC Mark Hodson from the force’s Road Harm Reduction Unit said the ultimate aim is to make West Midlands roads safer.
He said: “We’ll explore all possible ways to reduce the number of people killed or seriously hurt on our roads.
“We launched Operation Close Pass two years ago targeting motorists who endanger cyclists by overtaking too close. That’s led to a 20 per cent reduction in the number of cyclists killed or seriously hurt in collisions.
“Our team also introduced an initiative going after inconsiderate parkers − drivers who park on footpaths, forcing pedestrians into the road, or who park near junctions and create dangerous blind spots.
“We are also working with local authorities to enforce 20mph speed limits, especially in residential streets or near schools, and will soon be launching a revolutionary new campaign targeting people who use phones at the wheel.
“The majority of road users are considerate and pose no risk to others − but inconsiderate, dangerous drivers need to understand there is now a better chance than ever that we will catch and prosecute you.”
West Midlands Police initially wanted to charge the ‘brake-test’ driver with dangerous driving but prosecutors proceeded with the lesser count of driving with undue care and attention.
>The 4x4 brake testing a cyclist – he was prosecuted thanks to this camera footage