Sat nav blamed for surge in Shandwick Place fines

A driver ignores no entry signs while moving towards Shandwick Place. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
A driver ignores no entry signs while moving towards Shandwick Place. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
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DRIVERS caught going down “no entry” roads in the Capital as part of a police crackdown have been blaming the error on their sat nav devices.

Officers have been targeting motorists and cyclists who flout the law on the streets of Edinburgh as part of a two-week road safety campaign.

The first week of the initiative has seen officers speak with 95 drivers and 72 cyclists – with many motorists around Shandwick Place blaming their infringements on technical 
difficulties.

But as police prepared to get tough, describing the next week of the operation as more “hard line”, Pc Stephen Kirk warned drivers blaming a sat nav was no excuse.

He said: “The tram works have seen many changes to the road system at Shandwick Place over the last few years. We spoke to a lot of drivers last week about them using roads that are clearly marked with ‘No entry’ signs and one excuse we hear over and over is that they were directed there by sat nav. This is not acceptable – the onus is on you as a driver to be aware of road signs around you and act appropriately.

“We can’t charge your sat nav, but we can charge you.”

The campaign was launched after it emerged the number of drivers caught committing motoring offences in the Capital has nearly doubled since Police Scotland was formed in April.

And while some fines have already been handed out, Pc Kirk said warned that the focus would move on to enforcement over the next week.

“Last week our focus was on education, so those committing minor infringements were generally just given a talking to,” he said. “People have now had ample warning, and we are taking a harder line this week.”

Police are also monitoring the roads outside Haymarket station, which Pc Kirk describes as “to my mind, the area where cyclists are most in danger of being seriously injured”.

He said: “Taxis queuing outside the station force cyclists to use the outside lane, which is a serious danger zone for them. But both cyclists and drivers are being asked to be more aware on the roads.”

Pc Kirk said that common sense would be used when deciding when a purposeful infraction had been committed.

“We’ve been speaking to drivers about staying out of advanced cycle stop boxes,” he said. “If people get stuck in a cycle box when the lights change then obviously that is not their fault, but when we see people inching forward into the boxes while waiting for the lights to change, that’s a different matter.”