Police officers catch out hundreds of driving offenders using new enforcement method

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Warwickshire Police achieved the results using the Highway England owned HGV supercab which has been trialed by police forces across the UK. The new tool allows officers to use a specially adapted heavy goods vehicle to get a better view of what lorry drivers do behind the wheel.

The new cab can also be used to look down into car cabins and pick up motorists breaking a range of simple driving laws which can lead to heavy penalties.

Over the five day operation, officers detected 317 offences including 69 drivers using a mobile phone while driving.

In one incident, a HGV driver was so distracted by his phone that it took two police officers to stop him travelling at 60mph on the M40.

The driver was also found not wearing a seatbelt and carrying a load which was not properly fastened in a major safety risk.

Failing to wear a seatbelt was recorded as the top offence detected by the new HGV supercab with 97 drivers caught out.

This included 69 HGv drivers behind the wheel of heavy and therefore hazardous vehicles as well as 26 van drivers.

Some road users were even caught watching video behind the wheel with one businessman even working while driving.

Highways England Assistant Regional Safety Coordinator, Marie Biddulph said it was “disappointing” that drivers failed to wear their seatbelts behind the wheel.

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She said: “It is frustrating to see the number of drivers who are willing to put themselves and others at risk on our roads.

‘It is particularly disappointing that almost 100 drivers chose not to wear their seatbelts and 69 people were seen using a handheld mobile phone while at the wheel.

“While we know the majority of people are law-abiding, responsible drivers, there is clearly still a minority who will ignore the law and drive dangerously.

“Through our Operation Tramline cabs, and the work of our police partners, we want these drivers to know they can be seen and they need to change their behaviour – for the safety of all road users.”

Officers also used the new cabs to target criminals who were using the roads sihc as one vehicle which was stuffed with counterfeit cigarettes.

A number of overweight vehicles were also detected with one vehicle found to be 53 percent heavier than it should be.

In a major safety risk, one HGV driver was loaded with over 30 tons of bricks which were nor properly held down.

Officers have warned that if the lorry had swerved or broke suddenly the load would have likely fallen onto the road.

Sergeant Carl Stafford said the number of mobile phone offenders was ”staggering” and warned people were putting themselves at risk despite heavier punishments.

He warned that officers would take a “zero tolerance” approach to the offence in a stark warning to motorists.

He said: “The increase in mobile phone usage whilst driving has been staggering despite all of the publicity and increase in penalties people are still selfishly putting themselves and others at risk by being distracted by their phones, exacerbated even more when in charge of heavy goods vehicles.

“Warwickshire Police is taking a zero tolerance approach when dealing with this offence and all drivers of HGVs will be reported to court and the traffic commissioner.

“We also found that most of the drivers stopped with no seatbelt on actually made a conscious effort to fasten it behind them, I can’t comprehend the mentality of not using this non-intrusive device which is proven to save lives.

“A huge thank you to all the volunteers and officers who participated in this latest operation to make our roads safer.”

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