Police in Suffolk and Norfolk have stopped almost 250 vehicles and detected more than 300 offences after targeting drivers of Heavy Goods Vehicles as part of an operation supported by Highways England.
Operation Tramline saw police using an HE-provided HGV tractor unit which enabled them to carry out patrols across the strategic road network in both counties and focus on offences committed by lorry drivers.
The initiative took place last week, between Monday 8 March and Friday 12 March, and involved officers from the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, with enforcement taking place on the A14, A11, A12 and A47.
They say the HGV tractor unit, which was driven by a police officer, provides an ideal vantage point meaning officers can look into cabs of other lorry drivers or looking down at cars or vans. Supporting officers would then be on hand to stop any offenders.
A total of 248 vehicles were stopped, including 135 HGVs and 86 smaller goods vehicles.
307 offences were detected and the drivers in question were issued with Traffic Offence Reports (TORs), some having committed more than once offence.
256 TORs were issued in respect of the following offences:
- 165 for not wearing a seatbelt
- 55 for construction and use
- 28 for using a mobile phone
- 25 for an insecure load
- 12 for not being in proper control of the vehicle
- nine for driving without due care and attention for excess speed
- five for excess speed
- eight others for miscellaneous offences, including driver hours and driving through a red light
Sergeant Scott Lee-Amies, of the Joint Roads and Armed Policing Team, said, “This was an extremely successful week of action, with the sheer number of offences detected highlighting why it is so important for us to carry-out operations such as this. Although we have carried-out this type of initiative before, this was the first time under the national banner of Operation Tramline and we are very grateful for the support of Highways England in providing us with the HGV tractor unit free of charge.
“The HGV cab provides officers with an ideal vantage point to spot drivers committing offences and provides us with another means to enforce the law with this specific group of road users, who due to the size of the vehicles they are in control of, pose an added risk to other motorists and also themselves if they are committing offences whilst driving. We will continue to do all we can to provide enforcement and education around the ‘fatal four’ main causes of fatal and serious injury collisions, which are drink/drug driving; speeding; using a mobile phone; and lastly, not wearing a seatbelt – which unfortunately always seems to feature heavily when we hold these operations.”
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, added, “I spent some time with the roads policing unit in an HGV cab on a previous campaign and was amazed at what you see when you’re at eye level with another HGV – it really does give officers an excellent view and an opportunity to see offences they might otherwise miss. I can’t believe that drivers, including professional drivers, can risk their lives, their livelihood and the lives of others, looking at their phones and not wearing seatbelts.
“I fully support this pro-active approach to crack down on irresponsible drivers, the number of offences detected is quite staggering.
“It’s very disappointing that drivers still need to be reminded about something so obvious as putting on a seat belt. Everyone knows you are more likely to die in a crash if you don’t wear a seat belt, so I just can’t understand why anyone would flout this law – for 165 drivers to be caught without a seatbelt is absolutely shocking.”
He added: “I’d like to thank Highways England for their support, it is greatly appreciated.”
Lorraine Willis, Regional Safety Coordinator for the East of England at Highways England, explained, “Hundreds of thousands of drivers use our roads every day and the vast majority are sensible behind the wheel, but some are putting themselves and others at risk.
“Highways England’s priority is to try to ensure everyone using or working on our network gets home safe and well, and to enable our police colleagues to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles. There is no excuse for driving tired or driving an unsafe lorry or other vehicle, and we will not hesitate in taking action against those who flout the law on the Strategic Road Network.
“By supporting Op Tramline in Norfolk and Suffolk, working with the Police and sharing intelligence we help make Britain’s roads even safer.”
(Picture – Suffolk Police)