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Police HGV Operation Detects 147 Driving Offences in Just Five Days

Published on: 3 Feb, 2021
Updated on: 5 Feb, 2021

The “supercab” alongside other police units used by Surrey and Sussex police.

A one-week police Operation Tramline has caught a staggering 147 separate offences of driving while distracted over five days on Surrey and Sussex roads.

Officers were specifically targeting the “fatal five”, impaired driving through drink or drugs, careless driving, using a handheld mobile phone, speeding, and not wearing a seat-belt.

The two-county Roads Policing Unit used an unmarked HGV followed by patrol cars to look down for distracted or dangerous drivers. The increased height allows officers to spot driving offences difficult to see from a standard police vehicle.

The latest operation, first after Brexit and during a lockdown, lasted from Monday, January 18 till Friday, January 22, stopping a total of 126 vehicles on the M25, M3, M23 and A23 in both counties.

Offences included driving while on a mobile phone, driving without due care, not being in proper control of a vehicle and driving on the hard shoulder, as well as seatbelt offences. Police issued 74 traffic offence reports and 21 fixed penalty notices, as well as advice.

One motorist stopped for not wearing a seatbelt was arrested after he was found to be wanted by West Midlands police on a domestic assault charge. An HGV driver was caught reading a map book on the A23. A woman stopped for being on her phone had no licence or insurance. She was arrested and has to attend court.

A view from the “supercab”. Ahead a driver, in a previous operation, has been stopped on the hard shoulder.

Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, from the Roads Policing Unit, said: “This operation is crucial in keeping the roads of Surrey and Sussex as safe as possible.

“Driving while distracted is among the ‘fatal five’ reasons for deaths and serious injuries on the roads and is something that can easily be prevented.

“The use of the HGV is vital in helping officers identify more distractive driving offences than they could in a normal patrol car. It is serves as a deterrent to drivers that just because you cannot see a marked police car, does not mean you will not be caught and prosecuted.”

Sergeant Kellie Harris, of the Commercial Vehicle Unit, added: “Distractions of any kind cause collisions and people need to remember, when driving, that should be the sole focus, not chatting on the phone, fiddling with the radio or eating sandwiches.

“All these things take attention away from concentrating on driving and dealing with ever-changing hazards and if we see any distraction is diverting attention and affecting driving, we will stop and deal with it.

“We want to make our road network as safe as possible and we’ll seek to prosecute if we catch someone committing an offence.”

The HGV is provided by Highways England and has been used by numerous police forces over the past year.

Colin Evans, South East safety coordinator for Highways England, said: “Our priority is to try to ensure everyone using or working on our network gets home safe and well, and to enable our police colleagues to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles.

“There is no excuse for driving tired or driving an unsafe lorry or other vehicle, and we will not hesitate in taking action against those who flout the law. By working with the police and sharing intelligence we help make Britain’s roads even safer.”

Operation Tramline will be repeated year-round to tackle dangerous and anti-social driving habits.

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