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Speeding driver going too fast for safe pursuit, police say

Police speed detection in operation (Photograph supplied)

The driver of a speeding car that almost hit police officers on checkpoint duty is being hunted using roadside CCTV footage because it was too dangerous to chase the vehicle, it was revealed yesterday.

Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell, the head of the police tactical support unit, said: “Due to the extremely high rate of speed, the officers carrying out the checks were unable to catch up with the driver.

“The officers were in cars rather than on motorcycles and due to associated dangers a pursuit was not initiated.

“We are currently interrogating the CCTV system to see if we can identify conclusively the vehicle registration number and driver.”

He was speaking after officers were involved in a near-miss at a speed checkpoint in which a Hyundai car was clocked at 103km/h or 64mph.

The incident happened at 12.25am on Monday – only five minutes before the curfew started.

Mr Cardwell said that police were continuing to treat dangerous driving as “a critical incident” that needed “robust” traffic enforcement, with fines ranging from $300 to $1,000 plus demerit points.

He added that police had noticed a surge in late-night speeding as people tried to get home in time to beat the curfew.

Mr Cardwell said: “In this curfew period, there was one collision immediately prior to the curfew commencing.

“We have seen this in previous curfew periods.”

He added that roadside breath-test checkpoints, to be set up at the weekend, appeared to have been welcomed by the public.

Mr Cardwell said: “We have a number of resources dedicated to this exercise and they will be moving between locations rapidly.

“Avoiding a roads side sobriety check point is unlikely.

“We apologise to the public in advance for the disruption in travel this causes but feel the public have embraced roadside sobriety checks as necessary to keep our roads and everyone using them safe.”

Police handed out 78 tickets between Friday and Monday, with 61 for speeding.

The rest were for unlicensed and uninsured vehicles, and for ignoring traffic signs.

One of the speeders over the weekend was caught twice inside an hour in St George’s and Warwick.

Mr Cardwell said: “Multiple speed detection sites are set up simultaneously and this one case of a speeder being caught twice in rapid succession is not the first.”

The crackdown, Operation Vega, was launched last July, with officers not in the roads policing unit also equipped with detection equipment.

Mr Cardwell said that police had kept the public informed with a “no surprises approach” to speed checkpoints.

But he added that speeding remained “a prolific offence” on Bermuda’s roads.

Mr Cardwell said: “We have heard public pleas around early morning speeds.

“As such, we have mobilised early mornings to carry out speed detection exercises.”

He said 50 speeders were ticketed between 5.30am and 6.30am on January 12, at speeds that ranged from 60km/h to 103km/h, or 37mph to 64mph.

Another road user was clocked at 101km/h – almost 63mph – the same day.

Mr Cardwell said the number of crashes remained “extremely high”.

Causes included speeding, cutting in, disobeying a traffic sign, entering main roads carelessly, impaired driving, inattention and overtaking improperly.

Mr Cardwell said: “All of these collisions are directly related to bad driving behaviour and poor decision making.

“It is a decision to drive badly.

“We need the public to stop and think before an accident is created.

“Driver safety needs to be at the forefront of every driver or rider’s mind when operating a vehicle.”

He added: “A vehicle can easily be turned into a deadly weapon as we have seen with 17 road traffic fatalities recorded in 2021.”

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Published January 19, 2022 at 7:51 am (Updated January 19, 2022 at 7:51 am)

Speeding driver going too fast for safe pursuit, police say

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