VIDEO: Dashcam scheme would help put more eyes on the road
A proposed scheme which could see hundreds of Peterborough driving instructor's cars fitted with cameras to catch bad drivers and keep motorists safe could be given the go ahead.
Many driving instructors in the city already use the technology, and capture the bad and dangerous habits of Peterborough drivers - with police being able to use the evidence to prosecute dangerous drivers.
One of the most dangerous manoeuvres caught on camera was seen when a John Lewis van cut up a learner driver and their instructor on Oundle Road near Ferry Meadows.
Steve Edwards, who is a driving instructor and one of the campaigners for the scheme, said: “The idea is for prevention and not prosecution.
“If everyone knows there are 300 cars with cameras out there, it might make them think about picking up their phone, putting their seatbelts on, and using mirrors and signals and stick to the rules.
“One of the worst things I saw was a Range Rover turning right to go the wrong way round the roundabout at McDonalds in Hampton.
“He got away with it, but if a motorbike was coming the other way, the rider would have been killed.
“We understand police resources are limited at the moment - this would be like having 300 police cars gathering evidence out there.
“The cameras can pick up registration numbers, locations, times and dates, so the evidence would all be there.
“We do have very bad drivers in Peterborough. One of the biggest problems we have is speeders.
“We also have a lot of foreign drivers, who don’t know how to signal at roundabouts, as rules are different overseas.
“I was sat at a roundabout for a number of hours not long ago, and 60 per cent of drivers did not signal properly. “There needs to be proper education about this to improve driving.”
Fellow instructor Simon Garth-Greeves said he thought driving standards were lower in Peterborough than in other areas.
He said: “I think the standard of driving is below the standard/expectations required to be safe on the road. And would totally agree that Peterborough is worse than a lot of places.
“On a regular basis we see many things that are dangerous, including tailgating, non compliance to speed regulations, joining dual carriageways and not willing to stop if have to due to traffic, going through red lights, dangerous overtakes on rural roads, not giving way at meeting points, overtaking on urban roads with near misses of bus/cyclists and mobile phone use. The list goes on.”
The scheme, if given the go ahead, would see a red triangle sign put on the back of driving instructor cars.
Police in Wales have been using dashcam footage to prosecute drivers as part of Operation Snap - and now police in Peterborough could be set to follow in their tyre marks.
Superintendant Andy Gipp said: “We are reviewing with other forces how they are dealing with dashcam footage being available.
“For instance, North Wales Police have been very proactive.
“We are looking at what has worked well and what did not work well.
“We have to develop a threshold for where we would like to have footage of people and where we wouldn’t.
“Clearly, the police can’t deal with every single misdemeanour on the road.
“That’s why we want a threshold where the most serious misdemeanours are investigated: dangerous driving and offences involving the most vulnerable people - motorcyclists, cyclists and horse-riders.
“If someone is pulling out of a junction and the motorist with dashcam has a significant amount of time to respond, but has had to gently slow down, we wouldn’t investigate that.
“If the person had to slam on the brakes that would be different.
“Those offences which are clearly putting the public in danger and are likely to warrant a prosecution in court we want to hear about.
“If in doubt speak to us and let us make that decision.
“I have no evidence to suggest driving is worse here than anywhere else in the country. A number of things we deal with are excessive speed and impatience.
“Good drivers become bad drivers in a matter of minutes because of impatience.”
Superintendant Gipp said he would look at the driving instructors dashcam scheme - but only when the police’s procedures had been fully agreed.
Clair George from the SaferPeterborough Prevention and Enforcement Service said: “Instructors play a vital role in preparing new drivers for the road and teaching them to drive safely.
“Working alongside Cambridgeshire Police and the area’s road safety partnership we highlight the dangers of drink driving, driving while using a mobile and other behaviour that endangers the lives of road users.”
The move has come after an increase in the number of incidents captured on dash-cams across the city.
A camera fitted to a lorry provided crucial evidence to bring mother Tania Chikwature to justice. She had been drinking at the wheel before she was seen speeding up to a roundabout on the A605, launching high into the air and somersaulting, before landing on the roof. She had her young son in the back of the car - but luckily there were no serious injuries. She was jailed for 26 weeks earlier this year.
Shujah Saklain - the same driving instructor involved in the near miss with the John Lewis lorry - captured another narrow escape on camera, when two cars nearly collided on Dogsthorpe Road. A red car is seen exiting a roundabout and driving on the wrong side of the road before crossing back onto the correct side of the road, ahead of a cyclist and oncoming traffic.In September a bus driver avoided a ban despite admitting driving without due care and attention. Philip Onions caused a crash between his bus and a car after the double decker drove through a red traffic light.