'An accident waiting to happen' on main road

The PSNI has said they will clamp down on those who have been carrying out dangerous road manoeuvres on the main Rathfriland to Newry Road.

In recent weeks, numerous black circular marks (‘doughnut’ tracks) have appeared on the A25 road, along the area widely known as the ‘Shinn straight’.

SDLP Councillor Declan McAteer has said that by carrying out these actions, it is “an accident waiting to happen”.

The road has been blighted by the black marks as vehicles are carrying out the ‘doughnut’ manoeuvres along it, which entails rotating the rear or front of the vehicle around the opposite set of wheels in a continuous motion, which creates circular skid-mark patterns of rubber on the road.

Some of the worst affected junctions along the road are where the Rathfriland Road and the Turnavall Road meet and at the Turmore Road junction at the Orchard Bar.

PSNI Inspector Rosie Leech from the PSNI’s Roads Policing Unit, said that “incidents like these are not uncommon where - for example - there’s a wide mouth at a junction”.

Councillor McAteer queried whether those in the driving seat were aware of the dangers of these manoeuvres and the damage they can cause, as the strain is placed on the vehicle’s suspension and drivetrain, which may result in mechanical breakdown with loss of control.

Tyres are also subject to severe wear which may result in a sudden loss of pressure or blowout.

“I have not personally had any complaints from residents in relation to this, but these are being carried out in close proximity to a number of homes and if they are being done late at night, then I am sure they have heard the noise.

“This has the potential to become much more serious and I would encourage what the PSNI are suggesting, that people should report anything to police.

“I would also encourage people to take down vehicle registration numbers if they see any of this type of behaviour,” said Councillor McAteer.

He also appealed for those to stop and think about what they are doing on what he says “is a very busy road”.

“They have got away so far without causing any accidents but these actions have the potential to have a very different outcome, as it is a very fast road for traffic. It is an accident waiting to happen.

“Those carrying out these manoeuvres may think that it is a bit of fun but they are not only putting their own lives at risk, but also those of other road users,” he said.

Inspector Rosie Leech is asking that local residents assist them in catching these people.

“It can be useful if local residents keep a diary of when dangerous drivers are turning up at these locations, as it allows police to gather evidence.

“We can then look at the possibility of also utilising cameras to record this type of behaviour.

“I would ask members of the public to make police aware of this type of problem by contacting us on the non-emergency number 101, so that we have the opportunity to intervene,” said Inspector Leech.

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