Police stop more than 50 irresponsible drivers as part of Op Tramline
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Police officers in Staffordshire have stopped more than 50 drivers between 30 August and 5 September as part of an ongoing operation to protect people on the region’s busiest roads.
Op Tramline is a collaborative operation involving officers from Staffordshire Police, Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) and National Highways, designed to identify and address drivers on the A38, A5, A34 and A449 who do not meet the expected standards of responsible road use.
Fifty separate offences were recorded over five days in Op Tramline with mobile phone offences amongst the most prominent (23 offences). Failure to wear a seatbelt was identified 17 times, with other drivers committing drink/drug offences, failure to stop at red lights, no insurance and insecure loads.
One particular incident involved a female driver using her mobile phone whilst travelling on the A50 towards the M1. She was observed for a number of minutes scrolling through social media, replying to messages and viewing images and videos. She was subsequently stopped by police where she was unable to provide a valid reason for using the phone whilst driving.
Officers also issued 59 interventions whilst on Op Tramline to road users who were breaching expected standards. Forty-five traffic offence reports were issued, with one vehicle seizure, one referral to the Traffic Commissioner and five Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme (VDRS) also issued by police.
The operation sees officers in an unmarked HGV cab, owned by Highways England, identifying road traffic offences proactively in real time.
These offences are then radioed to colleagues situated in marked and unmarked police cars, who then pull-over the suspected vehicles and address the offences.
PC Sambrook from Staffordshire Police Road Policing Unit (RPU) said: “This operation is a great demonstration of our joint partnership working with National Highways where the ultimate aim is to improve road safety for all, reducing the amount of people that are killed or seriously injured on county roads.
“Op Tramline aims to remind people of their responsibilities as a driver and the conduct in which they must uphold in-order to keep themselves and others safe on the road. Road traffic offences have a considerable impact on other road users, which can block emergency service vehicles from operating effectively and cause fatal harm to others.
“Officers from Staffordshire Police RPU drive an unmarked HGV cab to give them clear view of all road users, including drivers of large vehicles. We use this to educate and enforce drivers who are observed to be breaking the law, looking at multiple traffic offences in the hope that we can ensure safety on our roads.
“Using a mobile phone whilst driving is a serious offence which could result in a £200 fine and up to six penalty points. If a driver is found to have failed to wear a seatbelt, they could face a fine of £100.
“In some cases, offenders do not admit or recognise their negligence, particularly if they have developed bad habits over time, such as travelling above the speed limit or failure to indicate at junctions.”
National Highways Assistant Regional Safety Co-ordinator, Marie Biddulph, said:
“People who use their mobile phone while driving are putting themselves and others at risk – you are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone.
“It is frustrating to see how many people were discovered flouting the law by Staffordshire Police during Operation Tramline.
“From their elevated position in our HGV cabs, our police partners can spot people on the phone, not wearing their seatbelt or committing many other offences – whatever vehicle they may be driving.
“Through Operation Tramline we want people to think carefully about their driving behaviour and to help ensure our roads are as safe as they can be.”
To find out more about the work of Highways England and what you can do to stay safe on the motorway, visit: https://highwaysengland.co.uk/road-safety/driving-on-motorways/.
To contact Staffordshire Police, message us on Facebook, Twitter, call 101 or dial 999 in an emergency.