Police use new HGV cab to spot unsafe driving on M6, A500 and A50 – this is what they found


Motorway police who have been using a new HGV cab to catch drivers flouting the rules of the road last week say they stopped more than 50 drivers.

As part of Operation Tramline, officers spotted offences such as using a mobile phone, not wearing a seatbelt and speeding on the M6 last week.

The operation has seen Highways England loan out one of three unmarked HGV cabs to Staffordshire Police to help prevent collisions and change driver behaviour for the better.

The three cabs are shared across England to be used on the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) network which includes the M6 and A500 in Staffordshire.

The elevated position of the HGV cab means officers have been able to drive alongside vehicles to detect any unsafe driving across the strategic road network.

So far, the cab has been used by the CMPG and will be used by Staffordshire Road Policing Unit (RPU) for two weeks over the course of 2021.

Between February 16 and February 19 the CMPG stopped 53 drivers on the M6 through Staffordshire on suspicion of the following offences:

  • 27 mobile phone offences
  • 15 seatbelt offences
  • Four excess speed offences
  • Four careless driving offences
  • Seized three vehicles for no insurance.

One driver was also spoken to by officers for driving on the hard shoulder while one individual was arrested for immigration offences and another was stopped driving a stolen car before being arrested for the theft of the motor vehicle.

Staffordshire RPU has also used the cab to identify 15 mobile telephone offences and 14 seatbelt incidents, with one driver spoken to over taking care while driving and 14 people advised over vehicle defects.

Once an offence has been detected by officers travelling in the HGV, they pull the driver over to explain what they have seen and action accordingly.

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As part of this ongoing operation, those previously stopped by officers have either sent to court, fined, had their vehicle seized or given the opportunity to get a defect on their vehicle fixed.

Earlier this month, officers have also used the cab to stop vehicles on the A50 in Longton on Wednesday February 10 where a driver was seen using a mobile phone and now faces six points and a £200 fine.

Another driver was stopped in Festival Park, the same day, after officers spotted them texting at the wheel.

The cab can detect a wide range of traffic offences, including:

  • Illegal phone use including texting, making calls and watching videos
  • Speeding
  • Unsecure heavy loads
  • Lack of seatbelt use
  • Vehicles not properly maintained
  • Inappropriate hard shoulder use.

Inspector Sion Hathaway, of the Central Motorway Police Group, said: “We welcome this new HGV addition to our resources and thank Highways England for enabling us to use the truck to improve driver safety on our roads.

“It’s especially important, particularly given the wet and often icy conditions on the roads, as well as the latest national coronavirus lockdown, that we detect people travelling in a potentially unsafe manner and detect offences before serious collisions take place.

“While the vast majority of drivers are sensible, a small minority put themselves and others at risk.

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“Highways England’s HGV gives us an advantage because it allows us to look into both normal cars and those higher up so we can see what drivers are doing, whether they’re wearing a seatbelt or if they’re using their phone.

“All of this enforcement activity is about keeping people safe on the roads, not catching them out.

“I hope that those stopped and dealt with by CMPG will now think twice about committing an offence again and therefore make the roads across the region a safer place to be.”

Highways England Assistant Regional Safety Co-ordinator, Marie Biddulph, said: “We work very closely with our police partners across the country through Operation Tramline to improve driving behaviour and reduce the number of incidents caused by unsafe driving.

“It is always disappointing to see people flouting the law and putting themselves and others at risk, particularly those using a mobile phone – you are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone.

“Using the supercabs we want to encourage all drivers to think twice about their behaviour behind the wheel, to put their mobile phone in the glovebox and make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.”





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