ACCIDENT hotspots across the county will become the focus of a roads policing campaign, aimed at tackling speeding drivers and timed to coincide with the gradual relaxation of lockdown measures.

Dorset Police will be concentrating on areas where collisions have occurred in the past, or roads highlighted as of concern by residents.

It is part of the National Police Chiefs' Council operation to educate and enforce the 'fatal five', which includes speeding, drink/drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt, being distracted at the wheel and careless and inconsiderate behaviour.

However, officers will be concentrating on drivers who break the speed limit.

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.”

Councillor Andy Hadley, member for transport at BCP Council, said: “There are many people walking or cycling on our highways, including children and the elderly.

"Speeding motorists create a hostile and dangerous environment for all of these road users, as well as putting themselves at risk, and I would urge people to think about the impact of their behaviour, to slow down and stay safe.”

During 2018, figures show that 1,624 people died on roads in England and Wales, with 58 per cent of deaths occurring on rural roads.

A further 25,000 people were seriously injured in collisions.

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 is 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.”