MOTORISTS have been warned to slow down and save lives, with police stepping up patrols at hot spots for driving offences as travelling restrictions are eased.

As part of a National Police Chiefs’ Council operation, Dorset Police will be stepping up its education and enforcement of the ‘fatal five’ of drink and drug driving, excessive and inappropriate speed, not wearing a seatbelt, driver distractions such as using a hand-held mobile phone and careless driving.

With the gradual relaxing of lockdown restrictions, Dorset Police is reminding motorists of the importance of travelling safely and within the speed limit, and will be carrying out education and enforcement measures to target those not sticking to the rules.

This operation is deliberately timed as travel restrictions start to ease, to keep people safe as the volume of traffic increases.

Sites receiving attention from officers will either focus on locations where collisions have occurred in the past, or areas highlighted to the Force that are of concern to local residents.

Chief Inspector Steve Lenney, Head of Roads Policing across Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, said: “Over the past two months we’ve seen a significant reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads as a result of lockdown measures reducing the number of vehicles travelling.

“However, we have seen examples where some drivers have used the lack of traffic to drive in an unsafe way, or travel at significantly excessive speeds, which can often result in tragedy.

“As the country begins to move out of lockdown and we’re beginning to see more road users on our network, we’re stepping up our education and enforcement to remind drivers of their responsibilities.”

“We recognise that some drivers may have not got behind the wheel in several weeks so alongside our enforcement activities, we will also be educating road users on vehicle safety as well as the effects of excess speed.”

Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “One of the many effects of the COVID-19 crisis has been relatively quiet roads, but now we are now entering a period of gradually returning to normal, which will include thousands of drivers getting behind the wheel – sometimes for the first time in weeks.

“It’s always important to ensure drivers avoid the ‘fatal five’, but it’s even more essential to do this at a time when we know our roads will be getting busier, so officers will be out and about across the county making sure drivers stay safe and targeting those who break the rules.”