Police in Suffolk have stopped more than 170 vehicles and detected over 200 offences, as part of a week-long operation primarily focused on heavy goods vehicles, but also detecting any offences committed by all motorists.
Operation Tramline saw police provided with an HGV tractor unit by National Highways, which allowed officers to carry out patrols across the county’s strategic road network and focus on offences committed by lorry drivers.
The initiative took place between Monday 12 June and Friday 16 June and involved officers from the Commercial Vehicle Unit, the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, and the Road Casualty Reduction Team, with enforcement taking place on the A14, A12 and A11.
The HGV tractor unit – which was driven by a police officer – provides an ideal vantage point meaning officers can look directly into the cabs of other lorry drivers, whilst also dealing with any offending motorists driving vans or cars too. Supporting police officers are then on hand to pull-over any offenders.
A total of 177 vehicles were stopped, including 74 HGVs and 58 smaller goods vehicles.
216 offences were detected and the drivers in question were issued with Traffic Offence Reports (TORs), some having committed more than one offence.
141 TORs were issued, with the primary offences being:
– 64 for not wearing a seatbelt
– 45 for construction and use (roadworthiness offences)
– 35 for using a mobile phone
– 28 for an insecure load
– 11 for driving without due care and attention
– seven for excess speed
– one for not being in proper control
– one for no insurance
Sergeant Scott Lee-Amies, of the Joint Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “This was another hugely successful week of action, with numerous offences detected and more miles covered than ever before.
“Although this operation is a team effort from across our roads policing resources, the Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU) should take particular credit for their efforts in organising this event and for the work they undertake on our trunk roads day in, day out.
“Pleasingly, the visible and constant presence of our CVU appears to be impacting on driver behaviour, with many lorry drivers aware that if driving through Suffolk they are very likely to be caught if committing any offences.
“Our thanks once again goes to National Highways for providing us with the HGV tractor unit free of charge. This enables us to carry-out enforcement in respect of this group of road users, who are in control of the biggest and therefore potentially most dangerous vehicles on the roads.”
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “Well done to everyone involved in this successful Tramline operation. Another excellent example of the Constabulary’s pro-active approach to enforcement resulting in our roads being safer for us all.
“It’s very disappointing that drivers – particularly those who rely on their driving licence for their livelihood – still need to be reminded about something so obvious as putting on a seat belt or not using their mobile phones. And to think a driver could get behind the wheel without properly securing their load is just unbelievable. I just can’t understand why anyone would risk their own life and the lives of others by driving when either they or their vehicle is unfit for the road.
“I spent time with the roads policing unit on a previous campaign and was amazed at what you see from an HGV cab, it really does give officers an opportunity to see offences they might otherwise miss so I’d like to thank National Highways for providing the vehicle, this partnership working really does pay dividends.”
Welcoming the success of the operation, Regional Safety Coordinator for National Highways, Chris Smith, said: “Providing Suffolk Police with the HGV unit is an innovative and clearly successful way to target those drivers that don’t think the rules apply to them.
“The type of selfish behaviour we’ve seen during the operation endangers the lives of other road users. Using the unique perspective of the HGV cab, allows officers to gather clear evidence and take appropriate enforcement action against dangerous road users.
“Whatever your mode of transport, please think about your behaviour when you next set off on your journey and help us make sure everyone gets home safe and well.”
(File picture – Suffolk Police, 2021)