Driver calls 'fire'
on the hard shoulder
WHEELER► dealers trading
cars, people picking flowers, and a driver who thought the 'fire'
notification on their dashboard display meant their car was ablaze;
instead of the name of the Adele track they were listening to.
These are just some of the reasons Highways Agency Traffic Officers
were given by drivers who had stopped illegally on the hard shoulder
of motorways. It is illegal to stop on a hard shoulder if there is
Agency data shows that between July and September in 2013, 2,062
drivers stopped on the hard shoulder when there was:- "no emergency",
including 129 in the North West. It is also illegal to drive under a
red X sign which is displayed when the lane ahead is closed.
Jamie Hassall, Highways Agency national enforcement co-ordinator,
said:- "Every day, millions of people use our motorways. Most
of them use the hard shoulder correctly and don't ignore red X's,
but we are appealing to the few who put themselves, other road
users, and those working on motorways at risk.
Where the hard shoulder is used as an additional traffic lane at
peak times, you can only drive on it if there is a speed limit over
it. When a red X is displayed over any lane, it's simple; don't
drive on it."
The government is investing record amounts in roads, which includes
making motorways 'smarter' by upgrading the most congested
A smart motorway is a section of motorway with additional technology
to actively manage traffic to improve journeys. Smart motorways tell
drivers what speed to drive at, when the hard shoulder is open to
traffic and when lanes are closed by showing a red X.
The Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) has warned drivers could
face a fine and points on their licence, as driving on the hard
shoulder is illegal and unsafe.
Inspector Derek Roberts, Central
Motorway Police Group, said:-
"Between September 2013 and April 2014 we sent over 700 letters
to road users misusing the hard shoulder and we have had less than
20 repeat offences. We are extremely encouraged by the results so
far, all the indications are that this joint work with the Highways
Agency is having a significant impact on educating and changing
Education is a key element to tackling hard shoulder misuse and we
will be further developing the warning letter campaign. However, we
will not hesitate to take formal action against those who are
clearly and deliberately flouting the law."
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), as part of this summer's
'Motorway Month', echoes these calls and is encouraging
drivers to be prepared before they head out this summer.
IAM's top advanced driver, Peter Rodger, said:- "Taking some
steps to prepare yourself and your vehicle before setting off on
your much deserved summer break will mean you'll have a far more
enjoyable time getting there."
Drivers can reduce the risk of their vehicle breaking down by
keeping it well maintained and being prepared before they travel;
knowing your route, having enough fuel and safe tyres. Some of the
most common recorded reasons for breakdowns are tyre related,
electrical or mechanical fault, fuel related, overheating and loss
of power. 10 of the most inappropriate reasons given to our traffic officers
by drivers who have stopped on the hard shoulder in a non-emergency
► One motorist pulled over because they saw "fire"
on their dashboard
display, it later turned out it was the name of the Adele track they
were listening to.
► One motorist parked up and fell asleep on the M6.
► People stopping to read a map or check their sat-navs.
► Traffic officers stopped with 2 cars on the hard shoulder – the
owners were half way through the selling and buying process for 1
of the cars.
► One driver realised their car insurance policy was up for renewal; they were ringing around for quotes to renew.
► Parents feeding children.
► Taxi drivers waiting on the hard shoulder around Heathrow airport
for their client's flights to arrive.
► A mobile phone operator, stopping at regular intervals in their
private car carrying out signal tests on the hard shoulder.
► A driver who stopped to pick flowers.
► Have you broken down Sir? No, came the reply, we are taking
pictures of our new born grandchild (in their open top sports car)
as it is a lovely day.
You can find out more information about smart motorways and red 'X's
by watching the Highways Agency's "What is a smart motorway?"
Also for lots more information on how you can have a safer summer
when driving and about smart motorways
lends a hand in West Africa
A Royal Navy sailor, from
Southport, has been helping with the renovation of a small West
African school in Guinea.
Leading Seaman Warfare Specialist John Haslam, 25, from Southport,
was part of a team of sailors who assisted in painting and generally
improving the SABU School in Conakry, Guinea.
As a member of HMS Iron Duke's 200 strong ship's company he was
there on a visit as part of the ship's 6 month deployment.
The SABU School recently moved to new, and safer, premises in the
Capital City, but the building was largely derelict. John
helped with painting some of the new classrooms, before taking part
in an impromptu game of football and trying his hand at West African
tribal dancing with some of the school's pupils. John said:-
"Working with the school was special to me; it
gave me a totally different outlook on life and has changed me as a
Being able to help the people of the community and SABU School is by
far the most satisfying thing I've ever done with the Royal Navy."
HMS Iron Duke sailed from
Portsmouth on June 20 on a routine 6 month deployment to patrol the
South Atlantic. Her visit to Guinea is the 1st visit by a
Royal Navy ship in 15 years and her arrival was met by a band and
reception party. Staying for 4 days, in company
with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Black Rover, the ships played
host to members of the Guinean Navy as sailors gave lessons on
navigation, seamanship and firefighting techniques.
For John, this is his 2nd deployment since joining the
Navy 5˝ years ago. When at sea John works as an Operation's
Room supervisor and is responsible the smooth running of the
Operation's Room, leading a 5 man team to ensure it is ready to
react to threats from multiple environments including air and
underwater threat. John added:- "I am very privileged to work in the Operation's
Room, arguably one of the most important compartments on a warship.
It can be a very demanding and complex environment and it is
satisfying to see a team of people work seamlessly together tying in
all of the Ship's different sensors and weapon systems."
As Iron Duke continues with her deployment, it will see her visit
much of West and South Africa as well as British territories in the
South Atlantic before she is due to return to Portsmouth in
"Lights Out!" -
Marking the 100th Anniversary of the start of the 1st World War
AS a mark of respect for
all those who died and to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the
start of the First World War, people are being encouraged to light a
candle in the house. This is between 10pm and 11pm on Monday, 4
August 2014. We are asked to extinguish all lights except 1 which
could be a candle or single light. Limited edition commemoration
candles are available in Southport Marks & Spencer and in other
large M&S Stores for which all profits go to the Poppy Appeal of the
Royal British Legion. "The lamps are going out all over
Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."
Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary, uttered these words on the eve
of Britain officially entering the 1st World War. Exactly 100 years
later we are inviting millions of individuals, households and
companies to join together in a national moment of reflection..