New traffic enforcement programme targeting dangerous driving in Leeds begins

A new traffic enforcement programme starts in Leeds this week to tackle anti-social and dangerous driving.

Funded by Leeds City Council working in partnership with West Yorkshire Police, the programme entitled Operation SPARC (Supporting Partnership Action to Reduce Road Casualties) will see officers from the roads policing unit patrolling the city monitoring driving behaviour looking for drivers putting themselves and other road users at risk.

The SPARC programme, which will run for a minimum of six months, will target drivers who are speeding, using mobile phones or are suspected to be under the influence of drugs or drink while driving. Additionally, people deemed to be driving aggressively or detected as driving without insurance will face enforcement.

The aim of the programme is to make roads in Leeds safer for all users, with the new initiative running alongside the existing ongoing road safety work that Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPT) already do in communities.

The council-funded scheme is part of a wider programme of initiatives being carried out to reduce road dangers and supporting greener, healthier travel for Leeds residents. Active travel schemes Leeds City Council is implementing with partners include: permanent protected bike lane provision installation on key routes, new cycle parking facilities well as cycle training. Other temporary measures to support active travel during the coronavirus include pop-up cycle lanes, footpath widening measures, active travel neighbourhoods and school streets programmes. For more details on these elements visit: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/campaign/safe-streets-save-lives

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, said:

“We have listened to calls from the public for tougher action on illegal, dangerous and/or inconsiderate driving. Road danger is one of the key barriers to more people feeling confident to walk and cycle more around Leeds.

“This additional police enforcement should help to remove some of those barriers and support council ambitions for a stepchange in travel behaviour, away from car use and towards walking, cycling and scooting as a natural, everyday choice, especially for shorter trips.”

Chief Inspector Richard Padwell, who leads on road safety for the Safer Leeds partnership, said:

“This is a landmark initiative backed by significant additional funding to help prevent collisions involving deaths and serious injury on our roads. It will also give us an increased capability to target the anti-social use of motor vehicles and address road safety issues in our local communities.

“The pilot scheme will use an evidence-based approach to pinpoint the areas where the issues are greatest, and focus regular proactive operations by specialist roads policing officers in those areas. Local neighbourhood teams and our off-road bike team will also be targeting their activities in support.

“The initiative will bring greater co-ordination of our efforts across the police and council and build on a number of existing road safety interventions.

“We will be monitoring the results of this increased activity as the operation continues, with the aim of making our roads and communities safer for everyone.”

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