From 4th – 7th December, one of Highways England’s unmarked HGV “Supercabs” was used by Alliance Roads Policing Officers to target driving offences on the A38 in Devon, the A30 in Cornwall, the M5 and in and around Plymouth.
The unmarked HGV cab, with a police driver and observer, is used predominately to target offences of distraction driving. The HGV is shadowed by unmarked police vehicles with ‘stopping’ officers also looking for the same offences.
On sighting an offence, the HGV crew calls in an unmarked police vehicle to stop the offending vehicle safely and deal with the offence. Alternatively the ‘stopping’ officers in the unmarked cars may suspect an offence and the HGV crew are able to confirm or discount it due to the unique “birds eye” viewpoint offered by the height of the cab. Our pictures show this high viewpoint through the Supercab windscreen from the police observer’s point of view.
36 offences were detected with 26 of these relating to using a mobile phone or not being in proper control of their vehicle. Other offences include using a vehicle with no insurance, no licence, no MOT, excess speed and not wearing a seatbelt.
The Peninsula Road Safety Partnership, using speed camera vans, detected over 1,000 speeding offences in the same period. All vehicle owners will be receiving a notification of penalty in the post.
PC Daniel Furneaux, leading the operation, said: “This was an excellent multi-agency response to widespread concerns about distracted driving involving Alliance roads policing and road casualty reduction officers, Alliance roads policing Special Constables, the Devon and Cornwall No Excuse team, the Peninsula Road Safety Partnership and Highways England.
“On the last day we also took the opportunity to involve officers undertaking their traffic law skills course.”
“We will be running Operation Tramline again next year, as we have on several previous occasions, as it is an extremely effective way of targeting distracted and careless drivers who are a cause of concern for all other safe and legal road users. As before, we will not announce in advance when the Supercab and supporting roads policing officers will be out on the roads.”
Roads targeted during the latest Operation Tramline were the A38 in Devon (4th), A30 in Cornwall, M5 (6th) and Plymouth on the 7th.
Highlights of the operation, if you can call them that, include:
• An HGV driver using his mobile phone whilst driving, actually texting at the wheel as pictured. He was given a £200 fine along with 6 penalty points at the roadside
• A30 Cornwall – Despite horrendous weather, which nobody can claim to have been unaware of, drivers were still seen texting, making calls or otherwise interacting with their phone whilst driving.
• A30 Cornwall – Driver seen not wearing his seatbelt, and it turns out he didn’t have insurance. The driver was reported for the offences and the vehicle seized. This vehicle, a white van, is pictured. Four other vehicles were seized that day for no insurance, MOT or tax.
• Throughout but predominantly on the M5 day, HGV’s had further inspections once stopped for various offences such as driver’s hours and weight limits. One 44T HGV was prohibited from further travel due to being overweight.
• Plymouth. Numerous drivers reported for offences of using mobile phone or not being in proper control of their vehicle. Drivers who were seen with phones on their laps or legs or on their dash resting against the speedo and so on were given education. Other drivers dealt with by way of £200 fine and 6 penalty points.
• Plymouth. One driver was seen filming and singing to himself whilst driving in Plymouth. He was stopped and blew over the drink drive limit. He was arrested and charged to court. Reading in custody was 49. (The prescribed “legal” limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath).
• The Peninsula Road Safety Partnership recorded over 1000 speeding offences over the 4 days and that was despite the poor weather. Numerous speeds were recorded in excess of 100mph, with a top speed of 108mph.
Driving while using a mobile phone handheld behind the wheel, or being distracted by a phone or other reason, is one of the Fatal Five driving behaviours that contribute to most deaths and serious injuries on our roads. Read more: www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/advice/on-the-road/the-fatal-five
Please note: Except for the white van and the texting HGV driver, no other photos depict road offences, but we have obscured company marks on any commercial vehicles to avoid confusion by association.
Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News