Unmarked HGV cabs spot 700 offences in M1 week of action

Police officers uncovered nearly 700 vehicle offences in just one week in an operation using unmarked HGV cabs to patrol the M1.

The elevated cab position means officers can spot unsafe driving behaviour regardless of vehicle

Eight police forces travelled the route between Leeds and London in the National Highways HGVs, looking out for unsafe driving in a week of action targeting the motorway.

A total of 663 vehicles were stopped and 691 offences uncovered. The most common offence was not wearing a seatbelt – 239 people were caught without their belt on, including 73 in South Yorkshire alone.

This was followed by mobile phone use behind the wheel – with 181 people spotted – along with 44 drivers not in proper control of their vehicle and 43 driving without due care and attention.

Penalties ranged from words of advice and traffic offence reports to 14 court summons and even five arrests.

One driver in Northamptonshire was stopped due to the front side windows being so heavily tinted that they only allowed 11% of light through when tested. The driver did admit to officers: “I sometimes have to wind the window down to see at night”. He was reported for having a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

Police forces also spotted a number of insecure loads while the campaign week, held during the first week of March, also saw some forces have to pull vehicles over to remove the snow off their roof or turn their lights on during very much reduced visibility.

The campaign reinforced the success of the unmarked HGVs, provided by National Highways to police forces across the country as part of Operation Tramline, and saw a worryingly high number of offences in larger vehicles. The elevated cab position means officers can spot unsafe driving behaviour regardless of vehicle; the 663 vehicles stopped included 180 HGVs alongside 204 private vehicles.

Sergeant James Parmar, of West Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “We stopped 86 drivers on West Yorkshire’s stretch of the M1 during Operation Freeway for over 90 offences. The vast majority of these drivers were driving HGV or LGV vehicles and stopped for fatal five offences.

“The reality is that the dangers of actions such as using a mobile phone while driving, not wearing a seatbelt or driving without due care or attention are potentially even more catastrophic when a larger vehicle is involved. The action that we have taken, alongside other police forces and National Highways, is all about keeping our roads safe for everyone.”

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