News article

Road safety operation on A361, North Devon

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South Molton police and fire service enforce and educate around Fatal Five causes of serious collisions

On Wednesday 13th September, for three hours, South Molton Local Policing Team together with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service conducted a joint large scale, high visibility traffic operation on the A361 North Devon link road.  This was in response to the recent serious collisions that have occurred in the area.  

The operation tackled the “Fatal Five” driving behaviours, which are also offences, that cause death or serious injury on the roads. These are excessive or inappropriate speed, not wearing seatbelts, distracted driving such as using a mobile phone handheld, drink and drug driving and careless or inconsiderate driving.

Drivers were also dealt with for other offences during the operation such as dangerous driving and crossing double white lines.

26 driving offences were detected, including 15 where drivers were seen using mobile phones handheld while at the wheel.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service were on scene to offer an educational input to drivers who were caught committing some offences to encourage them to improve their manner of driving and prevent them from putting themselves and others in danger in the future.

South Molton Neighbourhood Beat Manager Warrick Lansdell, who led the operation, said: “This operation was completely successful and has highlighted the serious issues we face in policing our roads today.

“It is hugely concerning and disappointing to still see drivers distracted by mobile phones whilst behind the wheel. This is potentially fatal behaviour for the driver and other innocent road users, not to mention that it is as socially unacceptable as drink driving.”

North Devon Sector Inspector Paul Searle continued: “The aim of this operation has been to provide a highly visible deterrent on our roads, whilst identifying the worst offenders, and dealing with them. From what we have seen during this operation it is clear that we must and will continue in the same manner in order to promote safer driving.”

Further operations have been planned for the A361 in the coming months, with the police keen to remind motorists that they continue to take very seriously the issue of road safety.

Regular patrols are carried out across the county, including the major trunk roads such as the A361, using marked and unmarked police vehicles, and motoring offences continue to be targeted.

You can contact the South Molton policing team here:

When you are caught using a mobile device while driving you will receive a £200 fine and six points on your license. You could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500. You are four times more likely to have a collision if you use a handheld mobile device while driving. It’s not worth the risk for you and other road users.


Press officer
Devon & Cornwall Police, Press office
Police headquarters, Middlemoor

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