Documentary series following Britain's traffic police. North Yorkshire's traffic officers deal with consequences of bad driving and catch out illegal drivers.
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the largest county in England and Wales.
Its 6,000 miles of roads are some of the most dangerous in the UK.
-Sorry, I could have killed somebody!
OK, that's OK. Well, you haven't killed anybody, have you?
For three of winter's toughest months,
our cameras filmed with this force 24/7.
Good afternoon, North Yorkshire Police.
This is an access all areas guide to policing North Yorkshire.
-Open the window, open the door now!
In 2013, 43 people died
and more than 390 were seriously hurt on the county's roads.
Most were simply caused by bad driving.
For North Yorkshire's traffic officers,
it's a major challenge.
They have to track down drivers who pose a risk behind the wheel...
And I can prove that you entered a right-hand blind bend...
..a metre and a half on the wrong side of the road,
which is shocking driving.
..catch those who shouldn't be driving at all...
'A lot of people now think it's a God-given right'.
"I can drive, I can get behind the wheel of a car and I can drive".
Actually, it's a privilege. You have to earn that privilege.
..and get the most dangerous drivers off the road and behind bars.
It's maybe only a matter of time before he kills somebody.
In Harrogate, it's 4:30pm on Friday afternoon.
But tonight, the roads are gridlocked.
A collision on one of the busiest roads out of town
has brought traffic to a standstill.
It's already causing a massive tailback.
First officer on the scene is traffic constable Steve Gardner.
It's at the top, on the hill over there.
'We could just tell'
by the tailbacks on our approach
that it was having a major effect already, within minutes.
It looks like multiple vehicles are involved.
Look at the damage to that last one.
We've got damage on the road.
Steve's number one priority is to check for injuries.
'I could tell that most of the people from this accident
'were not injured.
'But I did notice that'
there was one driver still sat within the driver's seat
and also very quiet.
And it's the quiet ones that we need to worry about.
What's your injuries, please?
You've hurt your head?
In all, four cars are involved in the collision.
Is there anyone else injured?
-You don't feel very good?
-Which car you from, please?
-The white one down there.
-OK. Well, we don't want you falling over
or anything like that.
Yeah, that's fine.
Although Steve needs to identify the cause of the crash,
and if anyone's to blame, caring for the injured comes first.
'You know, the priority is'
to get the casualties sorted by the paramedics
and, often, that requires the use of the Fire Brigade.
Our role is to mop it all up afterwards.
SIREN WAILS, HORN BEEPS
An ambulance fights through the traffic to reach the injured woman.
-Are you able to put it off the road?
That would be brilliant.
It's the lady in this vehicle, the red car here, that's...
She looks like she's got whiplash or something like that.
Steve's concerned she may have hurt her spine,
so, as a precaution, the lady will need to be cut out of her car
by the Fire Service, who are also now at the scene.
She had some sort of medical background
and she knew herself that she shouldn't be moved
and she was able to tell me that.
We didn't know how serious that was and was best to leave her
exactly where she was
until the medical professional could take over.
With the road blocked in both directions,
the rush-hour tailbacks are growing by the minute.
-How many cars were involved?
-There's four cars involved.
That's the only one we've got injuries in.
Steve tries to get the traffic moving while the firemen go to work.
-But I want to try to keep the inbound flowing.
What we'll try and do is keep it there,
-as long as you can guarantee...
-I can guarantee it.
-We can put a line of cones out.
If we get one lane closed, that would be absolutely brilliant.
Yeah, we've got rush-hour Friday, eh?
My concern is the knock-on effect to other accidents.
It's quite common for secondary accidents to occur in the tailbacks.
I want the road open, I want to clear the scene as quickly as I can.
Most accidents in the UK are caused by driver error.
North Yorkshire's winding rural roads can be unforgiving
of motorists who lose their concentration.
50 miles from Harrogate,
on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors,
TC Dan Hughes is hunting for a vehicle
that has fled the scene of a violent incident at high speed.
Dan wants to stop the car before he causes another accident
and endangers others.
POLICE RADIO CHATTER
'The driver was believed to have been involved'
in some sort of domestic incident
in the Humberside force area,
where he'd caused some substantial amount of damage.
'There was a belief that he may have consumed some alcohol'
rand he lives in the Cleveland force area,
so he was travelling through us, presumably on his way home.
Using a network of automatic number plate recognition cameras,
the police are tracking the driver's movements.
The vehicle hails from the Middlesbrough area.
It subsequently hit another camera, which has given us a route
that it's possibly travelling.
So we are making onto the Pickering road
to see if we can catch up with the vehicle.
But before Dan can close the gap,
a new report comes in.
There's been a crash in a village just ahead of Dan.
It's the one Dan was looking for.
The driver is injured, but conscious.
Now Dan has to try and establish what happened.
Where are we hurting?
'This chap's laid on his back,'
his legs are in the car, his body's out and people are attending to him.
On the surface, it looks like he could potentially be
in quite a bad way, the car's obviously rolled over.
Has he been ejected from the vehicle
and found himself in that state?
Or is that him trying to crawl his way out?
Can you tell me your name, lovie?
Two parked cars have been hit in the crash, one seriously.
Its owner was at home close by when the crash occurred.
It just shouldn't happen.
That's why I'm really angry.
But my kids weren't in the car,
nobody was hurt.
This is the main road through the village.
But none of the residents saw the accident happen.
No, I just heard something. We thought it was like an explosion.
And my husband looked out the window and was like, "There's a car".
And I came out, cos I'm a nurse,
so I...sort of came and...
And then the doctor, so...
Yeah, I just live up the road
and somebody came and knocked on the door,
cos they must have figured out that I'm a GP, so, yeah...
How fast do you think you might have been going when this happened?
-I don't know.
I'm just ambulance service, mate.
So we get a rough idea of what might or might not be occurring.
-You don't know?
Do you remember it happening?
With the driver himself unclear about what happened,
Dan will struggle to prove he's committed an offence.
'We've not got any independent witnesses there.'
Nobody can tell us that, yes, the car was coming down the road,
it was doing 50, 60mph.
He's not really willing to divulge to us what he's done,
what's caused him to lose control.
50 miles away, outside Harrogate,
Steve Gardner is dealing with the four-car collision
that's left one driver badly injured
and created rush-hour chaos.
Slow, slow, slow.
As the injured driver's cut out of her car,
Steve gets one lane open and traffic begins to flow.
and anyone that lives around here will know that
it suffers from not having a bypass.
So we've got sort of four, maybe five, major routes
in and out of Harrogate,
which get very severely clogged up at rush hours.
If we've got a collision on one of those roads,
then it has a major knock-on effect on the rest of the town.
-Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
As fire crews reach the casualty,
Steve turns his attention to the cause of the crash.
Ooh, that looks like the offending vehicle to me.
This accident was on a straight piece of road.
There were no junctions anywhere near the accident
and all the vehicles involved were facing in the same direction,
so the one at the back hits the one in front,
and then it hits somebody else, and then it hits somebody else.
Is this your car, sir?
What's happened then?
-There was a car turning round in that farm drive there.
-He was sticking out into the road.
Almost like he was going to go and then he stopped and...
-I was looking at him.
-I didn't see the traffic in front of me had stopped.
And I slammed all on.
-Sorry, I could have killed somebody.
Yeah, yeah. OK. It's OK.
-Well, you haven't killed anybody, have you?
-No, I haven't, but...
-There's no good thinking "what if", OK?
-But you were the rear car of four.
-I just slammed into the back
-of the car, I couldn't help it.
-OK. Sure, OK. That's fine.
'There was a lot of force involved'
to concertina four vehicles together,
so there's some massive power and energy involved in this accident.
And this chap, he was shocked
as to the damage that he had caused.
The driver at fault has admitted his mistake
and witnesses have confirmed his story.
He wasn't drunk or reckless, but, in the eyes of the law,
he was careless, which can be an offence.
He's in a bit of bother, yeah.
We're looking at driving without due care and attention.
It's a minor road traffic offence,
but still we will be interviewing him at a later date.
You could be the best driver in the world,
but that doesn't account for the complacent driver
coming in the opposite direction.
And that's...that's the sad part of my job,
that I deal with a lot of injured people at an accident,
but they're completely innocent,
because of somebody that is not paying attention,
or has done something wrong coming the other way.
With the scene of the accident finally cleared,
Steve gets back on the road.
He's about to take a break for some food
when another call comes in with details of yet another crash.
Dinner will have to wait.
Hiya, it's Steve Gardner from the police.
We've just ordered two chicken grills.
POLICE RADIO CHATTER
Yeah, can you delay them just a bit?
We've just been sent to an accident.
Thank you very much. Bye.
Steve is specially trained in crash scene investigation.
This collision has been reported
on a quiet but twisty country road near Harrogate.
We're close to the scene now.
Heading for the scene, Steve starts to assess what might have caused
a driver to lose control on this stretch of road.
There's a couple of really bad bends on this road
that easily catch you out.
Yeah, this looks like it here. Here we go.
There's only one vehicle involved.
It has left the road, hit a wall and flipped onto its side.
Can we start recovery now, please? It'll be a Cat 2.
It'll drag onto its wheels, over.
The driver who crashed is sheltering in another car.
Hello, is it your car?
OK. Are you injured?
Your right side hurts?
Do you need the ambulance here to check you out?
That's absolutely fine. We'll get one sorted now.
It's my job, turning up to this scene,
to see if anyone had done anything wrong.
If an accident occurs, normally, it's down to driver error.
Now, if someone's done something wrong,
then they've committed an offence.
I'm looking at a scene now with a car on its side.
It's an expensive, brand-new car.
There's unlikelihood that there's going to be a fault with the car.
So it's going to be a fault with a driver.
Can you tell me what happened, please?
The only account of the crash is from the driver herself.
I'm just seeing if she's left the road way back here.
Her version of what happened may or may not be accurate.
Erm, we've come back here about 50 metres, 100 metres
and it's still...
There's no signs of the vehicle leaving the road here,
so I'm guessing it's more nearer the bend.
Steve's training has taught him to spot the clues that will
either confirm or contradict someone's story.
I had just come off a course about the more technical sides
of collision investigation and that sort of made me
start looking at it a little more in-depth.
Yeah, there's the tyre marks there.
She's on the wrong side of the road.
We can see them clearly now.
The tyre marks leave the... Cross the centre line here.
They go across on the opposite side of the road
and then straight off the road, just in front of my car.
We're going to follow those tracks now
and see if they lead to her vehicle.
The driver made no mention of having crossed the double white line.
Yet the tracks appear to show that she did,
which could make her guilty of careless driving.
Very distinctive just there.
Our responder's parked right on top of them.
The car's left the road here.
Marks on the grass tell an even clearer story.
We can tell you that the car's been travelling in the direction
to my right, because of the way the grass has been folded over.
The grass is frozen.
So it's laid flat.
The car's not braking at the time,
cos, if the car was braking through here,
then it would have torn the grass.
So the car's still rolling.
But then it rejoins the road here.
This evidence contradicts the driver's story.
She says she swerved to avoid an oncoming car
that was on the wrong side of the road.
-But it looks as though
-was the one in the wrong.
I think it is a case of poor driving,
because of these marks that we've found on the road,
which are fresh cos, if they weren't fresh,
they would have been rubbed out by now by the passing traffic.
She's approached that bend either too quick or without concentrating
and has crossed the centre line, losing control on the grass here.
And she will need to be spoken to about that.
For traffic officers like Steve,
prosecuting careless, dangerous or illegal driving
is key to making the roads safer for everyone.
But the true cause of a collision is often hard to prove.
50 miles away at the crash scene in the village,
Dan Hughes is investigating what caused this car
to flip onto its roof.
He needs to work out if the driver should be charged with an offence.
And this collision could easily have been fatal.
'It's a busy village. There's a chip shop just up the road.
'People are coming and going. It's quite a busy road.
'He's been very lucky that he hasn't hit
'an oncoming vehicle, a pedestrian,'
or done anything where he's caused
anybody else some significant injury or harm.
-Open your eyes a minute.
-Open your eyes.
I'll shine a light into them.
With the driver the only person involved in the incident
and no witnesses, Dan tries to discover why he lost control.
One of the things we deal with at collisions is always
whether alcohol is a factor and breath testing people.
Obviously, the sooner we can get in there, we can breathalyse somebody,
the sooner we can easily get that evidence, or negate it.
Is there any chance we can do a quick breath test with him,
just to establish it from our point of view?
-Are you willing to do a breath test, darling?
Take a deep breath for me and blow through that tube.
-Blow. Keep going, keep going.
Keep going, keep going.
That'll do. Lovely.
OK, it's showing a reading of 20 there, which is a pass.
Showing that there is some alcohol in your system,
but not enough to be over the limit at the time. OK, mate?
Good on ya.
-Can you smoke a fag? Absolutely not. No, sorry.
'In the grand scheme of a crash,
'it's a car that's hit a parked car and rolled over.'
We've breathalysed the chap and he's under,
so that negates anything, from our point of view.
It's just trying to find out what's happened.
What Dan does know
is that the driver was being tracked by police
after leaving the scene of a violent incident.
What you've got to think of
is...what's potentially going through his mind.
You know, he's...
'He's been involved in some sort of domestic incident.
'He's then fled that scene'
so his adrenaline's going to be pumping.
He's presumably fleeing the scene, cos he doesn't want to be caught,
he doesn't want to be arrested.
From that, you can maybe presume that he was driving too quickly
and perhaps beyond his capabilities,
beyond the speed limits and the road conditions.
She's going to look after your head. All right?
As we start to move you, if it hurts at all, you need to let us know.
All right? Right, ready, steady, slide.
Where was that hurting?
-OK, I have a look at your back.
-OK, you're out.
This crash has left one car on its roof,
another written off and the driver hospitalised.
But, if the police can't prove he was driving dangerously,
he'll only be charged with a minor offence
and will be able to keep his licence.
He's not really willing
to divulge to us what he's done.
You've certainly got an element of careless driving there,
without any sort of independent witnesses to say
the car was doing this, this and this.
You know, you're going to struggle to prove any more dangerous aspect.
Drivers involved in collisions will often deny
that they've done anything wrong.
While Dan tries to piece together enough physical evidence
to prosecute the driver...
..50 miles away, just outside Harrogate,
Steve Gardner has made a discovery.
Tyre markings seem to contradict the account given to him
by a driver who crashed on this country road.
It's time to ask a few more searching questions.
Erm, can you come just...?
Come down the road with me, just for a few minutes, please, if that's OK.
If you come this way a little bit more.
The tyre marks here, crossing the centre line here.
Can you see those marks there? The white marks there?
Can you follow them round the bend?
-Can you see those marks?
They come from your vehicle.
So that's putting you on the wrong side of the road,
prior to this bend.
I understand that, but you're actually...
Your car is here, on the wrong side of the road.
Not the white Audi.
These are your tyre marks here.
Or not here.
OK, they're right across there.
I'm not saying you don't drive on the road regularly.
What I'm saying, what happened tonight, and what's caused you
to have an accident, is that you've left the road over there.
So, unfortunately, I've got to investigate you
for driving without due care and attention,
because your story about the Audi coming towards you
on the wrong side of the road doesn't stack up
-with where your tyre tracks are.
-But that's how...
There's nothing worse than turning up to a scene
where somebody comes up with a plausible excuse,
but it can't be proven either way.
On this case, I was able to look at the road,
see some evidence on the road
and that proved what this driver was saying was wrong.
Before the tyre marks are rubbed away by traffic,
Steve measures them as evidence of the driver's negligence.
Just got to watch out for traffic here.
One and a half metres.
One and a half metres on the wrong side of the road.
You wouldn't want to meet that coming the other way, would you?
The majority of collisions on Britain's roads, even fatal ones,
are caused by the careless driving of normally law-abiding people.
But there's no shortage of drivers
who are knowingly committing an offence.
Those who are driving while disqualified or uninsured.
For the traffic officers, getting these offenders off the road
before they cause an accident is a high priority.
What I see more and more is vehicles being driven without insurance,
and that's becoming a daily occurrence.
Maybe five years ago I may have stopped two, three, four cars a year
that came back as uninsured.
Now, we can be doing that on a daily basis.
It is 9am on the North Yorkshire Moors.
Police have received a tip-off that a Helmsley man has been
driving his car illegally, without a full licence or insurance.
TC Mark Gonella is looking for the offending vehicle.
The intelligence that we got relating to that was that
he regularly drove.
He would drive from his home address to a farm, do a bit of work
and then I think what was upsetting whoever it was was that
he would then nip home, have his breakfast
and then go back to work again and he was using this vehicle
without a driving licence and without insurance.
So the aim was to go and deal with him.
I am hoping that is the only way you can get in.
I'm hoping there's not a back road out of the pig farm
that he can come the other end.
Mark waits for the driver's usual route to work,
ready to stop him as he passes.
I want to catch him behind the wheel of the car, committing that offence.
He just nips out of there, doesn't he?
Up there and within two minutes he is at work.
After a half-hour wait, the offending vehicle appears
and Mark makes his move.
The driver pulls over as soon as he sees Mark's lights.
Hiya. Reason for stopping you...
-Number one. What is the second reason, any idea?
-Are you on the insurance?
You could see the look on his face, and you see it so often.
And it's difficult to explain, but it's that look of, "Do I lie?"
The little millisecond of, "Shall I lie?"
and then it was, "I have been caught."
-Are you listed on the insurance?
-No, I'm not, no.
-So you are not insured.
-No, I am not insured.
-OK, all right. Have you got a licence?
-So why are you driving?
People don't realise the impact that having no insurance has.
You put yourself and everyone else at risk, didn't you?
I am going to have to deal with you.
You have got to ensure your vehicle to be legally on the road,
that's the first thing. The law says you have got to be insured.
Secondly, if you were involved in a collision, a crash with
anybody else and people were injured,
you need that insurance.
People that try and claim off of you can't claim off of you
because you're uninsured.
-Whose car is it?
Well, it's my girlfriend's - she is on the insurance.
She is just there.
-She's at home?
I will tell you what it was, I got up at 7.55, I am meant to
be at work at eight o'clock and I thought, "I'm going to be late."
-I don't know why I did it, I just jumped in it and went up.
-Stupidness, that's it.
-I appreciate your honesty, all right?
-Sorry, I can't tell you nowt else, can I?
-You can't, can you?
Have a seat in my car
-because we are going to have to go through some paperwork.
Actually, sit in the front there, mate,
because there is too much on the back of here.
-That's pigs as in...
-Yeah, I work on a pig farm.
As long as there's not a wry smile on your face when you say that.
-My... Oh, dear.
When you say smelling of pigs, you smell...
I work on a... I have only just started, to be fair, last month.
-How far away...?
-It's not even far, it's like half a mile.
-So why blooming drive?
-I never do it, I never do it,
and I don't know... I don't know why I did it this morning.
When you say you've never done it,
have you been stopped before for driving?
Yeah, once before and I stopped altogether.
So when you say never...
-Well, not never.
-You have done it before.
I get that feeling that his thoughts were, "Do you know what?
"I've not really hurt anyone, I'm only nipping up to the farm,
"it's not causing anybody any problems, what's wrong with it?"
Yes, it's only a short distance, but something could happen in that
short distance, something serious could happen.
What is to say that he is coming down that road
and he hits a pedestrian?
He knocks a child over?
I don't even know why I did it
because four of my friends in Doncaster,
you might have heard about it on the news,
they all died in a car crash.
Another one of my mates on A170...
I don't know if it was last night or the night before,
he rolled his car.
He has made comments to losing friends of his own,
and maybe you have to try and work on that feeling with him,
and you've got to try and get it across as best as you can
to these people that yes, I'm friendly, yes, I'm nice,
but these are the consequences and you cannot do it.
You run so many risks, mate, and you're young.
If you crash that car now, like you say your mates...
-You are uninsured.
If you kill someone, death by uninsured,
-you are looking at seven years in prison.
You are honest with me, mate,
we are laughing and joking and we are messing around, all right?
-But that the end of the day...
-It is serious. I know it is.
It is serious. I will tell you for now, OK?
What will happen is that I will put a file in saying that
you should be prosecuted for these offences, all right?
You are looking at, at least, nine penalty points
going on your licence.
You make one speeding offence, you make one stupid mistake,
that's your licence gone.
You have lost it, you are a banned driver.
He said to us, "I was warned three years ago by a policeman."
If he was warned three years ago, he was doing it then.
He is going to have been doing it since then and he has run the risk.
This is the first time he has been caught
and I hope that catching him will make him
realise the implications that it will have on him.
He is there, he is on the radar
and there's a good chance we may come to meet each other again,
but I hope not - you never know.
Uninsured drivers aren't the only ones who shouldn't be on the road.
Sometimes a medical condition can make a person
unfit to be behind the wheel,
and under medical advice a licence can be revoked by the DVLA.
At 9:20am in the control room in York...
Good afternoon, Force Control Room. How can I help?
A concerned member of the public calls in to report someone
driving without a licence.
Just pass her reg again.
Dan Hughes has been called to intercept the disqualified driver.
She is being tracked on ANPR cameras.
On his way towards her most recent location,
Dan spots her coming towards him.
There she is.
It doesn't take Dan long to catch up.
But getting the driver to pull over is another matter.
4-3, this Corsa is failing to stop at the moment.
Code compliant, but she is making no attempt
to look behind her or respond to me.
In a residential area like this one, erratic driving,
even at low speeds, is a danger.
Dan calls for another car to assist him.
The aim is to stop the driver as quickly and safely as possible.
Yeah, she is trying to get past 681. Stand by.
Whilst she's not your, you know, speeding boy racer,
a criminal in a stolen vehicle that's dangerously doing
things to avoid capture and putting people at risk,
these people are capable
of potentially making an irrational decision.
You have got to remember you are behind a two-tonne killing machine,
essentially, you know,
that is capable of doing three-figure speeds.
The police cars box the driver in and an officer seizes her keys.
But she seems to be having trouble understanding the situation.
-You'll kill me.
-Do you want to jump out the car and come
and take a seat in my car, please,
-so that my colleague can move your car?
-I've got things in the back.
-Well, we will sort it out.
I've got to get home.
-Is it Mrs
Jump out the car for me, please, my love.
-I can't deal with this, I'm sorry.
-Jump out, come on. Listen...
I wrote to DVLA and I told them I am driving the car at top level.
-And I am assessing things all the time.
I am going to give you one more chance,
otherwise I am going to arrest you.
I don't want to start rolling around with a 70-year-old lady
at the side of the road, however, I have still got a job to do.
The DVLA have taken your licence off you and told you you can't drive.
-I drive carefully at top level.
She shouldn't have been driving and, you know,
she has to be answerable to that, the same way as a 25-year-old does.
Your licence has been revoked so you have got no driving licence.
I take ginkgo biloba, which helps my brain to work well.
But the doctors have said you are not allowed to drive your car.
I need my car at home.
Well, you can't drive it any further at the moment, OK?
I need my car to get out and do things
because I have got a very lonely life.
OK, and I want to deal with you in the best manner that I can.
We're going to do everything we can to look after you,
but at this moment I need to ask you to come and sit in my police car.
-I could have been dead.
-Come and sit in my police car.
It must be taken to my house.
Well, we will sort out what is happening to your car.
It must be taken to my house.
But at the moment, you can't drive it.
Come and sit in the front of my police car here.
-It's killing my life.
-I'll have sickness and diarrhoea tonight.
You have a seat in the front of my car...
You are going to kill me.
My colleague will just move yours into the lay-by.
You are going to kill me.
Steve, will you just pull Pete's Volvo forward?
There is obviously some medical reasons
why you are not allowed to drive.
I am driving excellently.
Well, you will have to look at other means. Obviously...
I've got to go to Morrisons.
'I would imagine, from her point of view, she will be frightened there.
'Trying to make sense of what's going on.
'We are telling her she can't drive, we are taking her car off her.
'That is a big thing that is happening there
'and she is having to deal with that on her own.'
I'm going to take her home.
She says there is nothing in the car that she wants.
'It is a real sad story.
'That independence has been taken away from her.
'In her mind, it is the end of the world.'
I am very worried about this bloody thing. It is killing me now.
Because it is fabulous when I drive the car out,
it helps me to relax a great deal.
It is killing my life.
Inside the house, Dan finds the letter from the DVLA
revoking the driver's licence on medical grounds.
That is the doctor telling you that they have had a discussion with
the DVLA and they have confirmed that you shouldn't be driving.
The ruling is clear - the lady can no longer legally drive a car.
'The DVLA have taken that decision that the lady shouldn't be driving.
'They will make that decision based on the facts put in front of them
'from doctors, mental health teams, police, in some cases.'
We will have a word with your doctor, then.
Why can't I drive it back to myself?
Because DVLA have taken your licence from you.
They have told you can't drive any more at the moment.
'It is a decision that people don't often agree with.
'Nobody likes to admit that they can no longer do
'something that they have been potentially doing
'for all of their life and it is a difficult thing to accept.'
Because your driving licence is not valid,
we can't let you carry on driving on the road, OK?
So the car has been recovered to the garage
to stop you driving it any further.
But we are not just going to take your car off you.
It's your car, you are entitled to have it back.
When can I pick the car up?
You can go straight away, but it has to be collected by somebody
that has got a driving licence.
Because my brain has gone down a bit regarding words,
I can't remember words very well.
Well, it's all written down on here.
But you are not allowed to drive.
Whilst they are not, you know, maliciously dangerous,
they are still potentially not capable of making
the reasonable decisions that you or I would be making
whilst we are behind the wheel.
And I wasn't causing anybody problems at all.
I know, but you are not allowed to drive...
I was assessing things very carefully on the road.
The DVLA have said you are not allowed to drive the car.
-They shouldn't be doing that.
-Well, they have, they have, OK?
-Yeah, but I am driving it very carefully all the time.
-And I am assessing things very carefully.
I am going to leave now.
All the best, Valerie.
She was quite defiant, bless her.
It is better that we take the car away from her,
albeit it is inconvenient.
But at least it keeps everybody safe.
At Harrogate Police Station...
Do you want to come through, please? Thanks for coming in today.
..the driver who crashed after straying
onto the wrong side of the road has arrived to be interviewed.
Steve Gardner, who investigated the scene,
will be taking her statement.
What I hope to achieve by having walked her through the scene
and those marks that were left at the scene,
that she will admit to the fact that she has got it wrong.
If she admits to the fact that she has got something slightly wrong
at the time, then we can offer a driver improvement scheme.
If she is going to deny all wrongdoing,
then we can prove the fact that she was on the wrong side of the road
and then she will be taken to court.
Right, so, starting time is 17.29.
Do you remember me walking you through some marks
-left at the scene?
Well, I remember you showing me the markings and telling me that
my car was on the slight right of the cat's eyes
in the middle of the road.
Like I said before, the dark lighting,
-and I was using my headlights as usual, and...
-Can I just...?
I am just going to stop writing for a second.
I don't want to go down the lines of, "It was dark",
because the fact that there is no street lighting there
has nothing to do with what we are talking about, OK?
I have got to be very careful when I interview a driver.
I can't tell the person that,
"Look, if you cough it, you will get a driver improvement scheme.
"If you don't, you are going to court" -
it doesn't work like that.
I have got to get the honest truth out of them, what they are thinking.
You have said that the white Audi was on the wrong side of the road...
..where I can actually prove that your car
was on the wrong side of the road prior to that corner.
By over a metre. I think it was a metre and a half, I measured it.
So I will put it a little bit more bluntly -
whose fault is this accident?
Are you looking for a definite answer?
Do you think you have done anything wrong or not?
I think you have got it all wrong and I can prove that you entered
a right-hand blind bend
a metre and a half on the wrong side of the road.
Which is shocking driving.
And that is the only reason that this accident has occurred.
And yet you are having to say to me in reply here,
"I have done nothing wrong."
No, I know I am wrong in the sense where...
Well, you need to start thinking about your replies here
because at the moment, this is not going so well, OK?
You do need to think about what I'm saying to you
and answer the questions truthfully.
Cruel to be kind. It was...
It was hard but she found it very, very difficult to say,
"It was my fault",
and so therefore I had to sort of put the ante up a little bit,
put the pressure on her and just say,
"Well, who else's fault was it, then?"
So, if you think that you did nothing wrong,
who caused this accident?
Well, having discussed what we've just discussed now,
and in reference to your previous question...
Yeah, she didn't make it easy on herself, did the poor lass,
but eventually, we got through to her that the marks on the road
told the story and they did very clearly.
Steve's gut instinct has proved correct.
The woman had been driving dangerously
and caused the collision herself.
Her mistake was reckless
and could have resulted in a very serious accident.
Spotting and stopping dangerous drivers before they cause a crash
is a key part of the traffic police's job.
It is 3am on Sunday morning.
Steve is on patrol in Harrogate.
The pubs and clubs are closing and people are heading home.
Acting on a hunch, Steve decides to follow one car
to assess how it is being driven and if there is any cause for concern.
Cars that start up in the town centre at that time of night -
we are talking three o'clock in the morning -
can involve alcohol.
So I thought, "We will just see what this car does."
See if it can stay in a straight line.
See if the driver's been drinking.
It took a left and a left and a left again and it seemed to be going
round in circles so my suspicions were aroused straightaway,
thinking, "There is something not quite up with this driver."
The instinct was that he doesn't want to be around
with a police car behind him.
Right, time to stop him now.
Having circled the town centre a couple of times,
the car turns into a car park.
This is a dead end.
Suddenly, Steve's hunch looks like it might be correct.
CAR HORN TOOTS
I've got a runner.
Send one of your runners towards Prison Gardens.
-Yeah, he went down there.
With no sign of the driver,
Steve calls for other units in the town centre to help.
He is near the Hales Bar somewhere.
As Steve reaches a dead end, a call comes in over the radio.
You've got what?
Yeah, where is he?
I am running.
Another officer has caught the driver.
Why are you running from me?
-I've had two pints.
-That is a silly thing to do, isn't it?
-Yeah. At least I've got...
All right, fella, we'll take you back to my car,
-we'll give you a breath test.
-Yeah, fair enough.
Right, this is the guy.
-So this is your car, is it?
-Yeah, it's my car.
I require you to provide me a breath sample.
-Yeah, not a problem.
-OK, good stuff.
Just take a seat here for me. Just like that. Great stuff.
-What is the limit?
-How many did you say you've had to drink?
-Two pints, mate.
He seemed fine.
He wasn't stumbling all over the place or...
He wasn't mumbling his words or anything like that but he knew
that what he had taken was probably close to his limit.
-How old are you, please?
You don't need to blow overly hard.
-Keep blowing until I say stop.
-Yeah, fair enough.
OK, so you are under arrest for drink-driving.
There's three limits with drink-driving.
One is breath
which is 35 micrograms.
And then there's blood which is 80 milligrams
and then there is urine, which is 107 milligrams of alcohol
in 100ml of urine.
At the roadside,
the breath test that we do currently is not evidential
and it is just an indicator that we have to take matters further.
Yeah, probably be better that way.
I'm going to put you in this van over here.
The driver will be taken to the police station
but despite his positive breath test,
there is still no guarantee
that he will be charged with drink-driving.
He'll be given another test on a more accurate machine,
by which time, some of the alcohol may have cleared his system.
He is borderline. By the time we get up there
and get him on the machine, we don't...
We've got to go to blood at 50,
so it is not going to be a short process,
I don't think, on the breathalyser.
Eventually, we are going to end up
with a roadside evidential breath test.
That means you are not arrested and taken to the police station -
the offence is detected immediately at the roadside
and this young man would have been convicted on that.
-Keep going, keep going.
Long way to go. Keep going.
Both readings are 50.
As the specimen with the lower proportion of alcohol
contains no more than 50 micrograms of alcohol, you may claim
that it should be replaced by a specimen for a laboratory test.
Do you wish to provide a specimen for laboratory alcohol analysis?
Legislation passed in April 2015, repealing this statutory option
for drivers just above the legal limit...
Make a really big fist like that.
..means the date of his arrest may just have kept the young man
on the right side of the law.
A problem taking his blood delays the process further.
-I'm not going to go with blood, I just can't get a vein up.
-Going to have to go with urine.
-OK, thank you.
-Sorry about that.
-It's no trouble.
Thanks for trying.
Steve is left with one final option.
A urine test.
I hate this bit.
I haven't gone to urine for years.
Yeah, good, fella. OK, ta.
Almost three hours after arresting the driver,
Steve finally has a test that could stand up in court,
but he will have to wait for the results.
I won't have two pints next time, I'll have one.
Well, a lot of my friends drive, to be fair and to be honest,
I'm not a big fan of driving anyway so if we go anywhere,
my mates normally drive.
I live with my mum and dad and they've got a car each.
My grandma lives next door, so if I want to go anywhere,
I just ask them for a lift.
Two months after his arrest,
the results of the young man's urine sample confirmed
he was one point under the legal drink drive limit...
OK, catch you later.
..and therefore, no further action was taken against him.
He wasn't thinking straight.
He didn't think about the other ramifications.
He just thought, he is young and invincible and it is worth
taking the risk but he hadn't thought it through properly.
For the traffic officers, getting drink drivers off the road
is a big part of reducing traffic casualties.
But 85% of accidents have nothing to do with alcohol.
And some of the most serious are caused by deliberate recklessness
by drivers who continue to drive illegally,
even after multiple collisions and convictions.
It is these drivers who often pose the greatest danger
to themselves, their passengers and other road users.
They are also often the hardest to stop.
At Scarborough police station, it is 10pm.
A young driver has spent the previous night in the cells,
having been arrested after a high-speed pursuit with the police.
He is also a banned driver and should not have been driving at all.
It is now 22 hours since he was arrested
and if officers don't charge him in the next couple of hours,
he'll be bailed and released.
Dan Hughes wants to keep him in custody
and get him before the court in the morning.
OK, I'm just reviewing a file in relation to a chap
that's in custody at the moment.
He was involved in a pursuit with the police last night.
-Speed, and it seems to continue.
He is disqualified already,
having been previously convicted for dangerous driving.
There is an allegation that the vehicle he was driving at the time
belonged to his girlfriend and he has taken that without consent.
TC Paul Moon was in the pursuing vehicle.
You're never expecting a pursuit, it just happens.
I didn't know who the car belonged to
cos I couldn't read the numberplate. Hence the reason
we were going to stop him to find out exactly
what the correct registration number was and who it belonged to,
but some people react differently
when they see blue lights.
His account of the driver's behaviour will form
the basis of the charges.
Paul is in no doubt. This wasn't careless driving -
it was deliberately dangerous.
He is putting everybody else's life in danger.
God knows what the driver of the coach thought when he saw
this car coming hurtling towards him on the wrong side of the road.
-We are still heading,
I think it's in the direction of...Suffield
Speed is 670.
Stand by, we are going right, right, right.
Stand by for direction.
He has crashed, he has crashed.
When we got there, I could hear a female screaming.
I didn't expect for there to be a female in the vehicle
so I had to smash the window to get her out.
But to my amazement, the male in the car
clambered over her and got out first
and he actually was...
He was on the floor, blamed her for driving.
And he said, "I told you to stop."
And he wasn't concerned about her in the slightest.
Can we have an ambulance, please, to the location?
She's received some quite serious injuries.
She has got some broken ribs and I think either a dislocated
or a fractured shoulder, along with some cuts and bruises.
She is currently in hospital at Middlesbrough.
A pursuit like this one, involving a banned driver,
failure to stop and a crash resulting in serious injury
usually see the offender immediately detained.
Having reviewed the report, Dan will now formally charge
this driver with a total of five serious driving offences.
I've had dealings with Tyler
since he was a spotty teenager.
But once he got his driving licence and was let out on the road,
the complaints were never-ending.
The charges are so serious that Dan asks the custody sergeant
to keep him under lock and key until his court hearing tomorrow.
Because it is a serious offence, because you might go to prison...
I am going to prison.
..because you might try and contact Natasha when you shouldn't,
and try and get her to change what she says.
-I don't want to change what she says cos it's all me.
It's good that you are taking it on the chin...
-I don't want nothing...
-..to come of it for her.
Tyler needs to be kept in. He's committed serious offences,
he's been involved in a high-speed police pursuit, driving dangerously,
he's caused serious injury as a result of dangerous driving
and he's disqualified driving as well so we clearly needs to be
somewhere we can keep an eye on him until we get him into the court.
Facing another night in custody and a probable prison sentence,
the driver has one request.
-Who do you want to ring?
-Have we got any objections to him ringing Natasha's mum?
-Just bear with us because I need to get to the bottom of that.
That all I want, I just want to explain how sorry I am.
If you want me to contact her mum, I'll ring her.
I'll ring her myself and let her know that you are making representations
that you want to speak to her and apologise
but at the moment, I don't think it's appropriate that you speak to her whilst you're here.
-This is my only chance.
As a repeat offender with a previous conviction for dangerous driving,
which saw him lose his licence,
this driver should never have been on the road.
Because, as I say, I've dealt with Tyler
since he was 15 or 16 years old,
and he's always been a smarmy little...
he doesn't have any respect for the police and what we stand for
and clearly, he doesn't have any respect for the rules
and regulations with regards to driving on a road.
You don't have to make a reply to any of those
but do want to make a reply to any of the charges?
Just how sorry I am.
I think that sorrow, that sort of pitiful attitude,
I don't think is so much directed at the wrongdoing
and the pity for his girlfriend who's laid in the hospital bed,
I think that is pity for himself because he has been caught
and he is now facing the consequences.
Yeah, I was stupid.
-Can you tell me how you are feeling now?
So, what was it that made you do it?
I was just scared at the time cos I knew I didn't hold
a driving licence so I just took my chances in getting away.
No good. No good.
Is this going to make you stop being daft?
I don't want to drive...
You need to have a good think, don't you?
I don't want to drive again.
Natasha is in hospital, isn't she?
-You could be laid next to her, couldn't you?
-I couldn't care what happens to me,
-I just want to know she's all right.
-All right, then.
Do you want to hop back in your cell, Tyler? All right.
My concern now is that he will continue to drive
and he will be more desperate...
If he is stopped by police again, he'll be more desperate to get away
and he will put more people at risk.
The moment he is out of prison, he will be back to his mates,
back behind the wheel of a car.
If he comes out of prison, and he proves me wrong,
and he doesn't drive and he sees the error of his ways, you know,
good luck to him and fair play,
but I take that with an absolute pinch of salt.
With more than 35 million drivers on Britain's roads,
it is inevitable that accidents will happen,
but the vast majority are caused either by driver error
or deliberate recklessness and could have been avoided.
Casualties are on the decline.
2013 saw the lowest numbers of road deaths since records began
but there were still 1,713 people killed
and more than 20,000 seriously injured on Britain's roads
in that year alone.
The thing is, I think people are sort of fairly blase
with regards to driving, it's one of those things
that is almost done as a second-nature task.
They don't really concentrate on the task of driving.
People's focus is on where they're going,
what music to listen to, who they're on the phone to,
what the kids in the back of the car are doing.
It only takes a second's lapse in concentration to get it wrong
or to cause somebody some injury.
There was no action taken against the driver responsible
for the four-car shunt, after the police decided
there were mitigating circumstances,
due to an untraced car turning into a farm entrance,
causing the driver's momentary lapse of concentration.
No action was taken against the man who rolled his car
after fleeing the scene of a domestic incident,
but for damage he caused to a property, he was fined £2,000
and sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment.
The driver of the white Golf who cut the corner and overturned her car
accepted a driver awareness course after admitting careless driving.
The provisional licence holder
caught driving unsupervised and uninsured
was reported for driving otherwise in accordance with a licence
and no insurance and fined £265 and given six points.
There was no further action taken against the revoked license driver
but her car was sold soon after the incident
and she is currently receiving support from carers
three days a week.
And the disqualified driver who rolled his girlfriend's car
after failing to stop for the police was sent to prison for 12 months
for causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
He also received another 12-month driving ban.
In 2014 there were more than 2,500 casualties as a result of accidents on North Yorkshire roads. Most of these were caused by driver error, and often by careless drivers or by those who shouldn't have even been on the road at all. This episode follows North Yorkshire's traffic officers as they deal with consequences of bad driving and catch out illegal drivers.