Seatbelts, Mobile Phones & Driving

Warwickshire Police’s Commercial Vehicle Unit detected 211 offences during a five day Operation between 14-18 September 2020 in support of Project Edward, the campaign for Every Day Without A Road Death, by taking the “Op Tramline” “Supercab” out on the roads to identify risky driver behaviours that could cause or contribute towards a collision.

During the operation, officers used the specially-adapted HGV owned by Highways England to observe driver behaviours in all vehicles and deal with any offences.

During the week, 41 people received Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) for using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving – often at high speed (this is a potential 6 points on their licence and a £200 fine).

Shockingly, some 68 people also received TORs after choosing not to wear a seatbelt (potential £100 fine). Even though wearing a seatbelt could save their life if they were involved in a collision.

25 people received TORs for not being in control of their vehicle (3 points and £100 fine) and 12 people were stopped for speeding.

One man was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class B – Cannabis after he was stopped for traffic offences on the M40 southbound on Thursday morning. A significant quantity of the drug was recovered following a search of the vehicle.

One HGV was seen driving on the hard shoulder at over 50mph where a family could potentially be stationary if broken down. When officers looked into his cab he was spotted on his mobile phone. Another driver, not content with being on the phone, thought he would read his delivery notes whilst driving at the national speed limit on the M40. Officers also observed a driver watching TV on a laptop whilst travelling on the M40 at nearly 60mph. 

Project Edward focussed on those who drive for work and around 35% of all drivers stopped were in commercial vehicles also putting their livelihoods in jeopardy. For two drivers, the offences were so serious they were referred to the Traffic Commissioner.

PS Carl Stafford said “This is sadly only a snapshot of the week’s findings and unfortunately demonstrates the real driver behaviours that are taking place on a daily basis on our roads.

“We will continue to proactively police Warwickshire’s roads including the M6, M40, M42 and M69 by looking for people that could pose serious danger to themselves and other road users. By stopping them and dealing with any offences we hope to change their behaviour and to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.”

“We continue to be the leading force nationally for Operation Tramline and this is testament to the dedication of the officers and volunteers within both OPU and our Special Constabulary who assist in this and many other operations. “

Highways England Assistant Regional Safety Co-ordinator Marie Biddulph said:

“It is disappointing that so many people were caught driving illegally and dangerously over the five days by our Operation Tramline supercabs. Particularly alarming is how many people still choose not to wear a seatbelt or will use their mobile phone at the wheel.

“We know that it is the minority of drivers that ignore the law but they are putting themselves and others at risk.

“Thanks to the elevated position in the HGV, our police partners are able to spot such dangerous drivers and to act as a deterrent to others. We are very grateful to Warwickshire Police for helping us improve safety on our roads.”

The full week’s figures are below:

Mobile phone offences 41

Not in proper control of a vehicle 20

Not wearing a seatbelt 68

Speeding 12

Hard shoulder violations 8

Vehicle condition and use 13

Load safety 12

Driving without due care and attention 5

Other 9

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