POLICE have been cracking down on motorists committing the ‘fatal four’ driving offences in Dorchester.

Officers were in the town centre this morning in a targeted operation aimed at raising awareness of the most common causes of road accidents and promoting road safety.

The ‘fatal four’ offences of speeding, drink or drug driving, using mobile phone while driving and failing to wear a seatbelt are known to be the main causes of injuries or deaths on the roads.

The operation led by the county town’s Safer Neighbourhood Team saw spotters posted at either end of High East and High West Street to alert officers positioned at North Square of any motorists suspected of committing an offence.

Anyone found to be flouting road traffic laws was then pulled over and given education and advice by police or issued with fixed penalty notices.

The initiative was also designed to enforce the message of the No Excuse road safety campaign that has been running across Dorset over recent years.

PC Mike Brown said: “It’s about looking at the ‘fatal four’ and to tie in with the No Excuse Campaign.

“We have identified that the risk of road deaths increase when people are using mobile phones, not wearing seatbelts, speeding and so on and we are looking out for these things.

“We are then giving them some education about why we ask people not to use mobile phones and to wear seatbelts for their own safety and the safety of other road users.”

He added: “It’s all about raising awareness and educating people and there also needs to be enforcement through penalty tickets or referring people to driver awareness courses for further education.”

A number of vehicles were stopped during the operation, which lasted for an hour and a half, and PCSO Glen Caddy said that a total of nine tickets were issued.

Most of the offending motorists were pulled over for seatbelt and mobile phone offences.

The number of penalty notices issued represented a significant drop since the last time a similar operation was carried out in the town around two years ago suggesting the road safety message was getting through to motorists.

However, PCSO Caddy said that the fact motorists were still committing offences showed that police efforts to educate drivers and raise awareness needed to continue.

He said: “There is still work to be done.”