More than 19,000 fines are handed out by officers

TEST A police officer takes a roadside breath sample
TEST A police officer takes a roadside breath sample
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POLICE have issued 19,236 fines to drivers for speeding, using their mobile phone at the wheel or not wearing a seat belt.

Hampshire Constabulary also breathalysed 12,677 motorists last year – and 547 of those were arrested for drink driving.

The statistics for 2012 have been released by the force’s roads policing unit, which launched a major campaign last year to crack down on the ‘big four’ offences that lead to most collisions on our roads.

In 2012 officers issued 8,028 fixed penalty notices of £60 for speeding, 3,493 for use of mobile phones while driving and 2,699 for failure to wear a seat belt.

The remaining fines were given out for issues such as vehicle or tyre faults.

Meanwhile, figures show between January and November last year, collisions in which people were killed or seriously injured were down 13.1 per cent on 2011, with 926 compared to 1,065.

By the end of 2012, there had been 43 fatalities on our roads – a reduction of 4.4 per cent on 2011.

‘That’s still too many,’ said Chief Inspector Andy Bottomley, of Hampshire’s Roads Policing Unit.

‘The majority of fatalities and serious injury collisions we’ve attended were entirely preventable. Some may have only been fatal because the driver or passenger chose not to wear a seat belt.

‘I know fixed penalty notices are controversial. They divide opinion and some see them as a money-making operation by police. But that’s not the case.

‘It makes no difference to us as individual officers whether you pay a fine or not.

‘What matters to us is that we’re not dealing with a fatality you have caused further down the line. If a fine will make you think twice about using your phone at the wheel or breaking the speed limit, then we could have prevented a serious collision in the future.’

The data shows officers attended 3,091 collisions in which people were injured. The casualty reduction strategy will continue until April.