Hundreds of motoring offences dealt with in road safety operations

Operations using a HGV to target driving offences have been conducted during the past two months in Cumbria, with hundreds of offences dealt with.

The operations were run in partnership with National Highways and saw the Constabulary use an unmarked HGV to help officers spot driving offences from an elevated position.

The officers used the vehicle to pull up alongside other vehicles and gather video footage of offences being committed. Supporting patrols were also used to stop motorists who had been caught committing offences by officers using the HGV.

During a five-day operation commenced earlier this month, officers recorded 285 offences. These included:

  • 122 speeding offences
  • 77 mobile phone offences
  • 26 immediate mechanical prohibitions
  • 26 driver hour offences
  • Two arrests for possession with intent to supply drugs
  • Driving without insurance
  • Driving without tax
  • A vehicle driving in lane three when prohibited from doing so
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Possession with intent to supply drugs
  • Driving without due care and attention

June’s activity, which was supported by partners such as DVSA, follows a five-day operation held in April which resulted in 31 offences being recorded.

Sergeant Jack Stabler of Cumbria Constabulary said: “The HGV provided officers an elevated position which allowed officers to drive alongside vehicles and record any unsafe driver behaviour taking place.

“The majority of offences recorded were people consciously taking the decision to not be in proper control of their vehicle – often through using their mobile phone whilst driving.

“There is no excuse for allowing yourself to become distracted whilst driving. Such actions put all road users at risk and could have fatal consequences.

“The operation held earlier this month was supported by a number of partner agencies, including the DVSA. This supported our efforts in identifying more offences which we hope will lead to changes in behaviour, which in turn will keep people safe on Cumbria’s road network.”

The Constabulary will continue to run further Op Tramline operations in the future, to catch drivers wilfully putting themselves and other road users at risk.

Cumbria Constabulary’s Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Blackwell said:

“This is an incredibly effective operation which identifies drivers who are behaving in an irresponsible manner and putting lives at risk.

“Our officers work every day to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on the county’s roads and this latest tool will be a significant help for ourselves and other police forces in targeting those who are a danger to themselves and others.

“Our aim is to prevent death and serious injury on our county’s roads. Too many people lose loved ones in road traffic collisions and we want to reduce such incidents from happening in Cumbria.

“Our officers will continue to be proactive with operations to target the causes of collisions and hold those who commit driving offences responsible for their actions.

“I’d like to thank our colleagues at National Highways once again for their work on the Op Tramline project, which is saving lives and improving road safety for us all.”

A spokesperson for National Highways said:

“The Operation Tramline HGV tractor unit, which is funded by National Highways, patrols motorways and major A roads with the aim of improving road safety.

“The vehicle provides an ideal viewing platform for police officers to identify dangerous driving behaviour that can be difficult to spot from standard police patrol vehicles – for example texting while driving. National Highways is committed to working collaboratively with our partners to improve road safety and we will continue to use the HGV tractor unit on the strategic road network to tackle deaths and serious injuries and to encourage people to improve how they drive.”

Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said:

“The Constabulary use many tactics to catch those who break the law and commit offences, the use of an HGV being one such example.

“It is clear from the results that speeding and mobile phone use is still a dangerous issue in the county so let this be a lesson to anyone who commits these offences – you will be caught by the Police and face the consequences of your actions.

“I urge everyone to be vigilant and to stay legal, stay safe and do not get distracted whilst driving.

“Cumbria is a safe county, and the Police and partners will continue to police our roads robustly to keep the county safe from dangerous driving.”

It is illegal to hold and use any hand-held mobile phone device whilst driving. The law still applies if you’re stopped at traffic lights, queuing in traffic or supervising a learner driver. Failure to comply can land you with a £200 fine and six points on your licence.

This means you should not use a device in your hand for any reason; this includes:

  • Illuminating the screen
  • Checking the time
  • Checking notifications
  • Unlocking the device
  • Making, receiving, or rejecting a telephone or internet based call
  • Sending, receiving or uploading oral or written content
  • Sending, receiving or uploading a photo or video
  • Utilising camera, video, or sound recording functionality
  • Drafting any text
  • Accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages
  • Accessing an application (such as Sat Nav or music)
  • Accessing the internet

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