A five-day operation using a HGV to target driving offences was run this week by Cumbria Constabulary, with dozens of drivers reported for offences behind the wheel.
The operation was 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.
In total the officers recorded 31 offences. These included:
- 14 mobile phone offences
- 10 speeding offences
- Two vehicles being driven in lane three when prohibited from doing so
- A drug-driver
- Driving without a licence – Sec 165 Seizure
- Driving without due care and attention
Sergeant Jack Stabler of Cumbria Constabulary said: “The HGV gave 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 Constabulary will be conducting more 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 joined the Op Tramline enforcement team on the road during the week. He said: “Having seen the Operation first-hand I can attest to its effectiveness in helping to identify those drivers who are behaving irresponsibly behind the wheel 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.
“I’d like to thank our colleagues at National Highways for their work on the Op Tramline project, which I’m sure is saving lives and improving road safety for us all.”
Jeremy Phillips, National Highways head of road safety, said:
“Safety is our number one priority and, through Operation Tramline, we hope to raise awareness and encourage drivers to think about their behaviour and habits at the wheel.
“Working alongside Cumbria Police and other road safety partners, we want to make sure those who are putting themselves and others at risk can expect to be spotted.
“The five days of action in Cumbria last week saw numerous examples of poor driver behaviour which could have had severe consequences.
“Operation Tramline enables our partners in enforcement agencies to identify the high-risk minority and take action to bring their behaviours in line with the law-abiding majority who use our network safely.”
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.
“This is an agile and effective initiative and I hope those who were caught have learned a valuable lesson and that it reminds us all to observe the law for the safety of all road users.
“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