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Almost 200 drivers were caught after motorway officers stepped up during a road safety crackdown with the help of a specially-adapted HGV.
Officers from Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) stopped 96 vehicles for 11 different offences on the M6, M5 and A500 during a week of enforcement - Operation Tramline - in the HGV owned by Highways England.
The ‘supercab’ gives officers the opportunity to get a closer look at what drivers are doing in both cars and lorries. The HGV allows one of the officers inside to film evidence of unsafe driving by pulling up alongside vehicles, along with the support of police cars following behind.
The operation saw officers stop cars, vans and HGVs between Monday 1 June and Saturday 6 June. A total of 42 people were caught not wearing a seatbelt and 10 motorists were spotted using a mobile phone.
Examples include one motorist caught on their phone whilst reading a receipt at the wheel, another motorist was given a fine for not being in proper control of his vehicle after being spotted cleaning his dashboard and another driver was caught taking a photo of his injured chest at the wheel.
Those stopped by officers were either sent to court, fined, had their vehicle seized or were given the opportunity to get a defect on their vehicle fixed.
Inspector Sion Hathaway, from Central Motorway Police Group, said: “While the vast majority of drivers are sensible, a small minority put themselves and others at risk.
“Highways England’s HGV gives us an advantage because it allows us to look into both normal cars and those higher up so we can see what drivers are doing, whether they’re wearing a seatbelt or if they’re using their phone.
“All of this enforcement activity is about keeping people safe on the roads, not catching them out. I hope that those stopped and dealt with by CMPG will now think twice about committing an offence again and therefore make the roads across the region a safer place to be.”
Highways England Assistant Regional Safety Co-ordinator Marie Biddulph said: “We know that the vast majority of drivers who use our roads are sensible and safe behind the wheel but sadly there are some who are putting themselves and others at risk by simply ignoring the law.
“It is particularly disappointing to see how many people are still not wearing seatbelts despite the very serious danger they are putting themselves in.
“We have introduced three HGV supercabs and are working closely with our police partners across the country to tackle dangerous driving. We hope this operation will encourage all motorists to think about how they can improve their driving.”