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4th Jul, 2022

Patrolling police 'supercab' records 600 offences on M6

Editorial Correspondent 15th Jul, 2021 Updated: 15th Jul, 2021

OVER 600 offences were discovered in a week by police and Highways England patrolling the M6 in unmarked HGV ‘supercabs’.

Police officers caught 92 drivers using their mobile phone illegally – with one playing online poker and another FaceTiming his partner.

Failing to wear a seatbelt was the most common offence, with 138 people seen risking their lives without the safety protection.

In total there were 594 vehicles stopped by police using the unmarked cabs, including 230 HGVs and 199 private vehicles.

Eight arrests were made, while other drivers were given fixed penalty notices or verbal warnings.

Among the dangerous drivers spotted during the campaign was a motorist who had no insurance or licence, was not wearing a seat-belt and neither was a four-year-old child sat on someone’s lap in the car.

Warwickshire Police stopped a driver who was found to have 22 points on their licence and no insurance.

They also caught 39 drivers not wearing seatbelts, 36 using their mobile phone, and 14 driving without due care.

The unmarked Operation Tramline HGV cabs are funded by Highways England and used by police forces across the country.

There were also additional police patrols, vehicle stops and advice given to drivers at motorway services by campaign partners.

The week of action, which ran under the banner of Operation Vertabrae, saw a reduction in the number of incidents and traffic collisions.

The number of incidents recorded by Highways England reduced during the campaign from 1,301 the week before to 1,287 while the number of traffic collisions fell 17 per cent from 71 to 59.

PC Jamie Blood, who led on Operation Vertebrae for Warwickshire Police, said: “This operation highlights the number of drivers that are willing to risk their own lives and the lives of others by driving vehicles in poor and dangerous condition, and by choosing to use a mobile phone, speed or not wear a seatbelt whilst driving.

“Once again it is terribly disappointing that we encountered so much poor driver behaviour on our roads.

“Using a mobile phone is a major causation factor in many collisions and the dangers of drink and drug driving are also well known, yet we continue to deal with drivers risking theirs and others’ safety.

“We are committed to making Warwickshire’s roads safer, however we cannot do this purely with enforcement, and we are asking drivers to please avoid these high-risk behaviours whilst driving.”

Highways England Head of Road Safety Jeremy Phillips said: “Our aim through this week of action was to make not only the M6 but all of our roads safer by raising awareness and encouraging motorists to consider their driving behaviour.

“The HGV cabs helped the police to identify almost 600 dangerous drivers who could have caused collisions and harm if they hadn’t been pulled over. Our safety advice given at motorway services and through the campaign also helped to make the M6 safer.

“We are confident that, working together with our road safety partners, this campaign has helped spread our safety messages to drivers but also raised awareness that those who engage in high risk behaviours can expect to be spotted and, if an offence has been committed, action will be taken by our enforcement partners.”

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