New Commercial Vehicle Unit detects 136 driver offences on Warwickshire’s motorways
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Warwickshire Police’s new Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU) has detected 136 driver offences in a five day operation known as Operation Tramline on the county’s motorways that concluded on Friday 17 January 2020.
During the operation, the CVU used a specially-adapted HGV ‘supercab’ owned by Highways England to observe driver behaviours in all vehicles and deal with any offences.
Inspector Mick Huntley said “The operation is about keeping people safe on our roads and officers are looking for people that could pose serious danger to themselves and other road users.”
The ‘supercab’ is invaluable because it allows officers to see all road users from an elevated position, giving a much clearer view of what drivers are doing. For example, if a driver is using a mobile phone or not wearing their seatbelt. The ‘supercab’ allows our officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles. Anyone we need to speak to is then pulled over by police cars following behind.
Over the five days, the CVU stopped a mix of vehicles on the M6, M40, M42, M69 and A46 in Warwickshire. Out of 136 driver offences, 15 people were stopped for using a mobile phone whilst driving (a potential 6 points on their licence and a £200 fine) and a further 54 drivers were stopped and dealt with because they were not wearing seatbelts (potential £100 fine).
A child was found unrestrained in one vehicle driving at high speed on the motorway that should have had a child car seat fitted (up to £500 fine).
The CVU stopped one vehicle for driving too closely to the vehicle in front, and two vehicles were stopped for careless driving. Seven vehicles were stopped for driving at excess speed and a further 18 vehicles were stopped because officers had observed the driver was not in proper control of the vehicle and were reported for these offences.
This is of great concern as vehicles travel at high speeds on the motorway network and drivers really need to concentrate on what they’re doing.
Due to the seriousness of the offence, two drivers - one on mobile phone and one not in proper control - were referred to the Traffic Commissioner who can take action against drivers including suspending or revoking a driver's licence.
One driver was stopped for driving without a licence and the vehicle seized and another was stopped for failing to display a vehicle registration number. Three vehicles were stopped and seized for having no tax and five vehicles were stopped and seized for having no insurance. Four vehicles were found to have no MOT.
As a result of the driver checks completed by the officers, one person was arrested for being wanted on warrant.
During the operation, the new CVU used the opportunity to focus on the many commercial vehicles using the region’s roads. Eleven vehicles were found to have insecure loads. These were rectified by the drivers who were reported for the offences before the vehicle could continue on its journey.
Ten HGVs were asked to move from the hard shoulder of the motorway where they had parked near to a service station to avoid parking fees in a designated parking place within the services.
Foreign vehicles pay a levy to use the UK’s roads and out of five HGV levy checks one HGV was issued with a Roadside Deposit Notice as the levy had not been paid. After checking the same vehicle’s tachograph, PC Russell from the Commercial Vehicle Unit found the same driver had interfered with his tachograph to falsify driver hours and received a £500 on the spot fine. The vehicle was also immobilised and the driver enforced to have a 9 hour rest period. (In total 56 driver hours checks were carried out.)
Inspector Mick Huntley said “Operation Tramline continues to show the volume of offences being committed on our major roads network and the importance of policing them effectively.
“We are looking for people that could pose serious danger to themselves and other road users. By stopping them and dealing with any offences being committed we hope to change their behaviour and make our roads safer for the public as a whole.”
Since April 2019 Operation Tramline has detected around 600 offences on Warwickshire’s road network. These are drivers that could have caused death or serious injury to themselves or other users of Warwickshire’s Roads.
Warwickshire Police would like to thank Highways England for their ongoing support with Operation Tramline and the Special Constabulary for their assistance.
The new Commercial Vehicle Unit became operational from 1 January 2020. Its role is to work with partners such as Highways England, HSE, and the DVSA to help improve public safety by targeting commercial vehicles and hauliers that could pose serious danger to other road users in Warwickshire through education and enforcement.
You can follow the team on Twitter @OPUWarks or on Facebook OPU Warwickshire.
Operation Tramline team with Catherine Brookes the Regional Director - Operations Directorate - Midlands, Highways England in the centre