The Police Service in Northern Ireland (PSNI) has announced a “zero-tolerance crackdown” on a range of motoring offences in response to a rise in road deaths in the country.
PSNI officers have been instructed not to exercise the discretion they might previously have shown when it comes to speeding, using mobile phones while driving and not wearing seatbelts.
The move is in response to 54 people having lost their lives on Northern Ireland’s roads during the first eight months of 2014 – compared with 26 and 40 deaths at the same point in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, assistant chief constable Stephen Martin said: "Because of our concern with the road deaths this year we have decided that we are going to take a firmer approach in relation to some offences on Northern Ireland’s roads.
"From 5 September if you are caught speeding, using a phone whilst driving or not wearing your seat belt, you can expect to get a £60 fine and three penalty points.
"We don’t want to give you a ticket, we want to find you driving responsibly within the limitations of the road and within the posted speed limits – that’s what we want to find. We are not going to exercise discretion in relation to those (offences).
"Northern Ireland is a small place, we should not have 54 road deaths."
The crackdown has been supported by Northern Ireland’s environment minister Mark H Durkan, who said: "We all need to accept responsibility for our behaviour on the road and the consequences that follow. These behaviours, including inappropriate speed and distraction through using a mobile phone, can cause death or life-changing serious injury either to you or other innocent road users.
“And as a driver or passenger, if you are not wearing your seatbelt in the event of a collision, you can kill or seriously injure yourself or other people in the vehicle.”