Police use covert lorry to catch dangerous drivers

Vision Zero, the road safety partnership working to stop all fatal and serious collisions in Devon and Cornwall by 2040, has recently released a video showing what they saw when the Devon & Cornwall Police joined forces with National Highways to spot driving offences.

Fleet Managers – is this your driver?

The footage is revealing – drivers were filmed using mobile phones, transporting insecure loads and even watching Netflix on an iPad.

Almost 40 driving offences were detected during Operation Tramline. An unmarked lorry cab was used to spot commercial driving offences.

The lorry – which is surrounded by cameras and even has police lights fitted – gives officers an elevated view, allowing them to see into the cabs and driver seats of larger vehicles. Roads policing officers used the lorry to patrol National routes across Devon and Cornwall, including the A38 and M5, and also to capture video footage of any offences.

Commercial Driving Offences on camera

Over the course of the one-week operation, the team stopped 52 vehicles and detected 38 offences. This included seven drivers using mobile phones, six driving without insurance, two people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and four scaffolding vehicles which were reported for being overweight and in a dangerous condition.

They also stopped one motorist who supplied false details – but was then identified through fingerprints and found to be disqualified from driving.

Superintendent Adrian Leisk, Strategic Roads Policing lead and chair of the Vision Zero South West enforcement sub-group, said:

“The new mobile phone laws mean that the moment you touch your phone while driving – for whatever reason – you have committed an offence. Using your phone behind the wheel of a car is dangerous, but when you add the sheer size and weight of an HGV, the outcome is amplified. Anyone caught using their phone can expect a fine and penalty points. For some professional drivers this could result in losing your job. It’s just not worth it – put your phone somewhere out of sight and out of reach.”

As well as numerous driving offences, officers also detected other crime on the roads – something Supt Adrian, says is vitally important in reducing crime in the region.  More of these operations are planned in the coming months.

Beverley Hannah, National Highways’ South West Safety Co-ordinator, said:

“The vast majority of drivers who use our roads every day behave responsibly behind the wheel, but there are some who are putting themselves and others at risk by simply ignoring the law. We work with our police partners across the country to tackle inappropriate driving such as using mobile phones, or not wearing seatbelts, and the HGV cabs employed as part of Operation Tramline are an important part of our commitment to tackling unsafe driving and those who take unnecessary risks with their own safety and that of others on the road.We want to make all of our roads safer by raising awareness and we hope this operation encourages motorists to consider their driving behaviour.”

Find out more about Vision Zero here.

You can access training resources to help reduce road risk, including driver resources and podcasts on driver distraction, on our website. Those who employ drivers can also register for The 7 Steps to Better Driver Management which is completely free to access.

Watch Operation Tramline in action

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Simon Turner

Simon Turner
Campaign Manager
Driving for Better Business

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