‘Brake tester’ pros­e­cuted as po­lice call for more dash cam footage

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Andy Richard­son Staff Re­porter

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

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