A week of action led by Cumbria Police resulted in over 500 vehicles being stopped and more than 20 drivers arrested for excess drink or drug use.

The multi-agency Week of Action took place from October 2 to October 6, with the new Roads Policing Unit (RPU) targeting what is known as the Fatal Four - speeding, drink/drug driving, not wearing seat belts, and using mobile phones while driving.

After its launch, the RPU reported a sizable police action toll that included 293 notices of intended prosecution via safety camera vans, 90 drivers reported for speeding, 26 drivers arrested for drink/drug driving, 23 drivers reported for using a mobile phone while driving, 18 drivers reported for not wearing their seatbelt, and 11 drivers reported for defective tyres.

The action also targeted individuals driving without insurance, a licence, MOT, or those running red lights.

For much of the operation, safety camera vans were situated near schools around the county, aiming to catch speeding drivers.

Inspector Jack Stabler said: “The week marked an excellent start for the new Roads Policing Unit (RPU), however this is only the beginning.

“Together with our partners on Cumbria Road Safety Partnership we are committed to working to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads by targeting dangerous driver behaviour and using analytics to target the roads which see the most serious collisions in the county."

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) conducted separate checks of more than 50 vehicles, with issues such as defective brakes, overloaded vehicles, and driver hours offences being identified.

Thousands of pounds in fixed penalty notices have been issued as a result.

Mark Parish, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency's Traffic Enforcement Manager for Carlisle, said: “The creation of the new Cumbria Police Roads Police Unit is a significant step forward in helping protect the road users of this County from unsafe drivers and vehicles.

“The DVSA look forward to working with the Unit in the future in our shared aims of improving road safety in Cumbria.”

On October 5, officers from Cumbria Police visited Appleby Grammar School to educate students about the Fatal Four, and safety precautions while on the road, which included the usage of the Cumbria Police Crash Car.

Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “The Fatal Four are, as the name suggests, the biggest killers on our roads and all of them are avoidable by motorists’ taking responsibility for themselves and others.

“The message is clear: if you break the law, the Police will catch you and you will have to face the consequences of your actions. However, you can act now and take responsibility for your actions by driving safe and sober.

“I would also like to encourage the public to report any dangerous driving to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”