More than 175 traffic offences detected on the M1 in Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire Police have been working with National Highways’ unmarked HGV this month identifying more than 175 offences as part of the latest operation to crackdown on illegal and irresponsible drivers using the county’s major road network.

Officers from the Safer Roads Team, supported by colleagues from the Roads Policing Team, Serious Collision Investigation Unit and Special Constabulary, used the vehicle to patrol the county’s stretch of the M1 to spot drivers putting lives at risk due to their poor driving behaviour.

The patrols were carried out between junctions 15 and 18 on both carriageways as part of National Highways’ Operation Tramline campaign which aims to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on the UK’s major routes.

During the five days of action, which ran from 5-9 February, officers used the HGV super cab to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling alongside vehicles, with the focus on the ‘fatal five’ driving offences.

The Fatal Five – careless driving, excessive speed, using a mobile phone behind the wheel, not wearing a seat belt, and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – are the main contributory factors linked to death or serious injury collisions on the roads.

Drivers seen committing an offence by officers in the HGV were then pulled over by a police car following a short distance behind and throughout this operation, a total of 1,738 vehicles were filmed which resulted in 179 traffic offences detected.

Of those vehicles stopped, 46 drivers and 12 passengers received fixed penalty notices for not wearing a seat belt and a further 46 road users were found to be using a mobile phone while behind the wheel.

A further 26 were reported for driving without due care or reasonable consideration to other road users. Another four were driving at excess speed and five vehicles were seized for having no insurance.

In addition to the fatal five offences, 20 drivers were stopped for having illegal window tints, number plates and not being in the position to have full view. A further six were reported for insecure, dangerous loads and six others for abnormal loads.

One driver may have regretted using his mobile phone while driving after he was spotted on the northbound carriageway of the M1 and escorted to the Watford Gap Services by officers.

The 43-year-old man from Newcastle upon Tyne was prohibited from driving his blue Liebherr mobile crane after it transpired that he did not have a movement order to drive the 96-tonne vehicle from Essex to South Yorkshire.

He was reported for both driving offences and will be summonsed to appear at Northampton Magistrates’ Court at a date to be confirmed.

Another driver was arrested on suspicion of driving while unfit through drugs and possession of cannabis. The 32-year-old man from Leicester was released under investigation pending further enquiries.

While a 36-year-old man from Newark in Nottinghamshire, was arrested on suspicion of theft after being circulated as wanted by another police. He was released on police bail pending further investigation.

PC Mo Allsopp-Clarke, of the Northamptonshire Police Safer Roads Team, said: “Reducing the number of people who are killed and seriously injured on our roads remains our priority and to hold a driving licence is both a privilege and a responsibility.

“Some commercial drivers travel 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 find so many drivers prepared to put their livelihoods at risk for the sake of not wearing a seat belt or checking their mobile phones.

“Driving any vehicle needs your full attention but even more so when you’re behind the wheel of a commercial van or lorry, and there’s absolutely nothing so important that can’t wait or is worth risking not getting home safely for.”

National Highways Assistant Regional Safety Co-ordinator, Marie Biddulph, said: “We know that the majority of people travelling our roads do so safely and legally but there are a minority of people that continue to put themselves and other people at risk.

“Working with our police partners and through Operation Tramline, we want to reach out to that minority and persuade them to reconsider their driving behaviour and help us make the roads safer for everyone.

“Therefore, they should be aware that from the elevated position in our unmarked HGV cabs, police can see into any vehicle and will spot people not wearing their seatbelt, using a mobile phone or picking up any other distractions at the wheel.”

Police say that in 2022, after being involved in a road collision in Northamptonshire, 36 people never returned home safely to their loved ones, and 347 required urgent medical assistance for serious and life-changing injuries.

(Picture – Northants Police)


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