Inconsiderate motorists in South Staffordshire who put the lives of refuse collectors, and pedestrians, at risk are to be targeted in a new initiative.
Staffordshire Police is teaming up with municipal contractor Biffa, which provides recycling and refuse services for residents in the South Staffordshire Council area, following an increasing number of incidents where refuse collectors are almost hit by vehicles.
From Monday 2 November such incidents will be reported to police via a new, fast-tracked system and action taken against drivers.
PC Duncan Stephenson, from the force’s Road Crime Team, has developed the initiative in conjunction with Biffa management.
And if motorists are caught flouting the law, they will face a Fixed Penalty Notice, taking a driver awareness course or being prosecuted through the courts.
Refuse collection crews from Biffa are regularly reporting incidents whereby vehicles, including buses, are driving on the verge/pavement to get past the collection lorries, essentially undercutting.
This puts the crews, and other members of the public, in danger. And all because motorists are impatient and will not wait a few minutes for the collection lorry and crew to move on.
The current generation of Biffa’s refuse collection vehicles are fitted with four CCTV cameras, which give a 360 degree view and constantly record what is happening around the vehicles.
Should any vehicle cause a danger to Biffa crews or to members of the public, the video will sent, with a statement, to the Force’s Traffic Process Office.
The video will be viewed and the incident investigated so that the appropriate action can be taken against the driver.
PC Stephenson said: “This is a great example of partnership working to benefit the communities we serve.
“This is happening whilst Biffa’s operatives are on their routes collecting residents’ rubbish. They are being put at risk by impatient drivers who get stuck behind a lorry and will not wait a few minutes.
“Not only are the crews at risk, but also pedestrians who are exiting their drive or garden. The last thing they expect is a vehicle mounting the verge or pavement to undercut the lorry.
“From now on, any motorists who cause a danger by illegally passing the refuse lorry will be prosecuted, using actual video evidence from the collection lorry.”
Over the past six months, Biffa has recorded nearly 30 incidents of dangerous driving, 12 of which have been reported to the police. One Biffa operative was hit by a vehicle but, luckily, only suffered a bruised leg.
Matt Bailey, Biffa’s senior business manager for its South Staffordshire contract, said: “Everyone at Biffa welcomes this partnership initiative, which we hope will reduce the unnecessary risks that my crews face every day as they go about their work.
“They already do a difficult and hazardous job providing a service that local residents want and appreciate, but the selfishness of inconsiderate drivers has been making that job more dangerous.
“All we ask for is a little patience when drivers encounter Biffa’s vehicles and crews out on their rounds. But if there is dangerous driving or aggression, we won’t hesitate to report this to the police for further investigation and action.”