Unsafe vans and trucks targeted during M6 operation
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Dangerous vehicles were taken off the road while more than 20 drivers were fined for traffic offences during an operation to crack down on unsafe vans and trucks.
Staffordshire Police’s road policing unit teamed up with the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) to check a range of commercial vehicles travelling on the busy M6 to ensure they were not only roadworthy – but the cargo was safely secured and the drivers had not been behind the wheel for too long.
And during the initiative, which took place on Wednesday, a total of eight vehicles were hit with prohibition notices meaning they were too dangerous to be on the road and needed to be recovered. Reasons for the notices included being in a poor condition, having an excess load or being used without insurance.
In addition, 21 drivers received fines for offences including using a vehicle with defects around lighting and tyres, or being in overall dangerous condition. Among those motorists two were also discovered to be driving without insurance. Fines were also issued in response to issues including driving otherwise than in accordance than a licence; using an overloaded vehicle; carrying an insecure load, and a tachograph offence where the driver had exceeded their hours.
More than 30 vehicles were stopped during the initiative with some drivers being given verbal warnings and advice where necessary.
The operation, which was also ran in collaboration with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), saw vehicles which officers believed should be inspected taken into a dedicated check site in Doxey, just off the M6.
Temporary sergeant Dave Cruxton, of the force’s road policing unit, said the operation was not just about enforcement but making drivers aware of their responsibilities. He said: “We have worked with our colleagues at CMPG who have been out identifying vehicles which they believe are committing offences whether that is around hazardous loads, carrying too much, or being used while they are in a dangerous condition.
“Overloading is a common issue and we have seen during this operation, one van which was carrying as much as 1.6 tonnes more than it should be. That has an impact over how a vehicle handles and brakes. When you are impacting on those factors it becomes an issue.
“We have also come across vans which have serious issues and should not be on the road. Our officers identified one with defective braking. There is also an issue with people loading flatbed vehicles and then not fastening things down which means there is the possibility part of the load can come free and hit other road users. We have even seen hammers left in the back of one of these types of vehicles and even panes of glass not properly secured.
“We have the power to put prohibition notices on vehicles which are not roadworthy and that means they have to be recovered as they can’t be used. These operations are also about giving advice to drivers and not always just enforcement. When a vehicle is overloaded we contact the relevant company and offer the opportunity for another driver to come out and take some of the load off so they can continue with their journey.”
Specially-trained officers from the roads policing unit were able to conduct safety inspections on vehicles along with checking their weight, assessing insecure loads, completing drink and drug driving checks, along with reading tachographs to make sure drivers have not been on the road for too long.
T Sgt Cruxton added: “We have been trained on how to carry out a range of checks and also had the support of the DVSA which was invaluable to us.
“Working in collaboration on these type of operations means we can share our knowledge and ultimately keep Staffordshire’s roads safe.”
During the day officers had the power to issue fixed penalty notices and also look towards prosecuting individuals resulting in drivers appearing in court. Notices could also be served on vehicles in relation to urgent repairs and the need to undergo a fresh MOT. Prohibition notices were used for vehicles with the more serious issues.
PC James Ralph, of the roads policing unit, helped arrange the initiative. He said: “If we have suspicions about a vehicle it is important we stop it and carry out the relevant checks. In the first few hours we had one van which had no ABS and another which was 1.6 tonnes overweight.”
CMPG officers – using marked and unmarked cars – were out on the road identifying vans and trucks, which were then taken to the site in Doxey. PC Sharon Smith, of CMPG, said: “We are able to quickly identify whether a vehicle is overweight for example and also identify other such problems.
“These operations are done to raise driver awareness and make sure dangerous vehicles are not travelling in the county