Unmarked HGV ‘supercabs’ to patrol M25 in bid to reduce road collisions

National Highways has again teamed up with Police forces across the South East in a fresh bid to improve road safety on one of the most important routes in the region. 

During Operation Orbital, police forces will use National Highway’s unmarked HGV “supercabs” to patrol the M25 and record drivers of all types of vehicles committing mobile phone, seatbelt, and other safety offences. 

The operation will also see enforcement agencies including DVSA and the Police carry out vital safety checks on vans and lorries for road worthiness, secure loads, weight, and drivers’ hours to help keep drivers on the M25 network safe.  

The HGVs, which are funded by National Highways, allow police officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles, and drivers are then pulled over by police cars following a short distance behind. 

The cabs have derestricted speed limiters, which means they can travel at speeds up to the national speed limit, and have flashing lights for use in an emergency. 

Travelling along the M4 late last year an HGV driver can be seen holding two mobile phones, one to each ear, in this startling video footage

But what he didn’t realise was the vehicle travelling alongside was an unmarked National Highways ‘Supercab’ – and there were two police officers inside. 

The footage, taken along the M4, captures one of over 31,000 offences recorded by officers in the Operation Tramline HGV cabs since the national safety initiative was launched by National Highways, formerly Highways England. 

Colin Evans, Regional Safety Programme Manager for National Highways in the South East, said: “Over 7,500 vehicles travel round the M25 every hour, ranging from commuters getting to work to haulage firms delivering goods along the route or overseas. 

“The vast majority of drivers obey the law but a few are risking potentially devastating consequences by not carrying out appropriate checks before setting off or by driving dangerously. 

“The two weeks of action will see enforcement agencies carrying out checks along the M25 to help improve safety for everyone.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Jo Shiner said:  “Operation Orbital is a successful collaboration between the police and National Highways. We remain committed to tackling those who take unnecessary risks with their own safety and the safety of others on our roads by allowing themselves to be distracted while driving.  

The consequences of these actions are often devastating. We will continue to work alongside National Highways on Operation Orbital and will take action against drivers who ignore the risks.” 

Operation Orbital is being co-ordinated by National Highways and involves DVSA plus police forces from the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Surrey and Thames Valley Police.  

Operation Orbital campaign round the M25. DVSA’s Director of Enforcement, Marian Kitson, added:  “Dangerous and reckless drivers and operators who cut corners on road safety can have devastating consequences.  

“There are no excuses – every van or lorry driver has a duty to check their vehicle is safe before setting off. Along with our partners we are cracking down on those who put everyone on our roads at risk.”

(Picture – National Highways)


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