M1 driver had window tints so dark he couldn’t see at night
A driver who couldn’t see out of his own windows at night was among more than 600 people stopped in the space of a week by police patrolling the M1 in unmarked HGV cabs. National Highways has confirmed details of some of the worst sights spotted from the cab when forces across the East Midlands and South Yorkshire took part in Operation Tramline, which uses HGVs to spot driving offences.
Working with National Highways, eight police forces spotted almost 700 offences between Leeds and London, including the Leicestershire Road Safety Partnership, Derbyshire Police, Nottinghamshire Police, and Northamptonshire Police. Having officers in HGVs gives them the ability to spot unsafe driving in all vehicles, from cars, to vans, to other HGVs – and some of the offences spotted were hard to fathom.
One driver near Northampton was stopped because of the front side windows being so heavily tinted, only 11 per cent of light was being let through. The driver admitted to officers: “I sometimes have to wind the window down to see at night”.
(Image: National Highways)
Vehicles were also stopped for having insecure loads, including one in Northamptonshire which had hay bales stacked above the height of the trailer itself, with the driver telling police “their own weight holds them on”. Meanwhile, Derbyshire Police spotted a vehicle with furniture including dining chairs stacked up and not secured while driving on the M1.
In Nottinghamshire, a driver was stopped for using their phone. But officers then discovered the motorist didn’t have a licence or any insurance.
(Image: National Highways)
Within the space of just a single week, 663 vehicles were stopped and 691 offences were uncovered, with the most common offence being 239 people not wearing a seatbelt. In second, 181 people were spotted using a mobile phone at the wheel, while 44 drivers were found not in proper control of the vehicle and 43 were driving without due care and attention.
Penalties ranged from words of advice to motorists and traffic offence reports all the way up to 14 court summons and five arrests. Of the 663 vehicles stopped, 180 of them were HGVs, while 204 of them were private vehicles. Across the East Midlands, 309 offences were recorded, with 108 people not wearing seatbelts, 62 using their mobile phones, and 27 driving without due care.
National Highways Head of Road Safety, Jeremy Phillips, said: “Hundreds of thousands of motorists travel over 21 million miles on the M1 every day – accounting for one in seven of all motorway journeys – and the vast majority are safe and legal drivers.
“But there is a minority that continue to put themselves and others at risk. It is disappointing that almost 700 offences were spotted in just one week – those drivers were prevented from continuing with their unsafe behaviours.
“Through this week of action we aim to reduce the number of incidents on the M1 and to encourage motorists to think about their driving and to adopt safer behaviours.”
Northamptonshire Police Safer Roads Operations Manager, Matt O’Connell said: “Making sure everyone gets home safely is our top priority, and to achieve this, we need to ensure that we all use our roads both legally and responsibly.
“Commercial drivers drive thousands, if not tens of thousands, of miles each year and are sadly more likely to see the tragic consequences of poor driving standards, so it is always disappointing to still catch a small minority breaking the law.
“However, this is just one of many good examples of how we can improve safety on our roads and is partnership working at its best. The HGV provided to us by National Highways is an essential tool which allows us to identify offences being committed and deal with those responsible robustly.”
PC Dave Shaw, of the Derbyshire Police Roads Policing Unit, said: “Using a HGV cab is a really useful tactic to help spot drivers who are putting other road users at risk and it’s still very disappointing to see so many drivers ignoring the law and choosing to commit offences on the roads.
(Image: Birmingham Mail)
“One driver who was stopped using his phone was concerned he would now lose his licence – but the message is clear – do not use your phone whilst driving. Motorists should also know that they must wear a seatbelt, not to drink or drug drive and to drive within the speed limits.
“I would also remind people to be patient on the roads, allow enough time to make a safe journey and to concentrate on what you are doing and where you are going. Ultimately it is about taking care of yourself, your passengers and other road users.
“This operation shows how we continue to work in partnership with National Highways and other police forces to help improve road safety for all. We will be continuing to patrol the road network in Derbyshire and any driver found to be committing offences can expect to be given the appropriate penalty.”
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