A road safety initiative involving many unmarked police vehicles is being launched across North Devon and Torridge to mark the new year. The operation is intended to drive home the message that a driving licence is a privilege, not a right. Police offi

A road safety initiative involving many unmarked police vehicles is being launched across North Devon and Torridge to mark the new year.The operation is intended to drive home the message that a driving licence is a privilege, not a right.Police officers will be carrying out patrols using unmarked cars and motorcycles at various locations. It is being stressed that law-abiding motorists have nothing to fear. But offenders who break the law by speeding, anti-social driving, the use of mobile phones and not wearing a seat belt will face stiff penalties that could lead to the removal of their driving licences.PC Nick Porter, Road Casualty Reduction Officer, Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "North Devon has seen the greatest reduction in road death and serious injuries recently. This is due to dedicated and diligent road-policing activities and targeted operations such as this. "Whilst there is evidence that deaths on British roads are reducing, there is no room for complacency - any death is one too many."A complacent and frequently arrogant approach to using the roads by certain motorists is all too evident," he went on. "High speeds, coupled with disrespectful driving attitudes, can have catastrophic consequences. This initiative aims to put a stop to such behaviour."Every driver, passenger and pedestrian has the right to feel safe on our roads. By using unmarked traffic vehicles, equipped with high-tech equipment, police officers will witness for themselves what the motoring public observe." PC Porter said the priorities were to reduce the number of road deaths and encourage improved driver safety. "There has to be a sharp change in the way that we are tackling driving offences," he said. "There is a much greater chance that anyone who has a complacent attitude towards driving, or displays arrogance towards road traffic laws will be caught and have to face the consequences.""Traffic officers recognise that some motorists only momentarily improve their driver behaviour in the immediate vicinity of a fully marked police vehicle, but driving within the law should happen at all times." Police are urging those who flout the law to think twice and remember that any car could be an unmarked traffic vehicle. Officers will also be educating motorists on safe and legal driving, and will enforce traffic penalties when examples of poor winter driving standards are witnessed. "The initiative isn't just a short-term hit, it's our priority to keep drivers safe," said PC Porter. "Devon prides itself on being one of the safest places to live. Let's make our roads that way, too.