Over 220 offences detected during operation using HGV supercab

Police in Suffolk stopped over 200 vehicles, made two arrests and detected more than 220 offences, as part of a recent week-long roads policing operation.

Operation Tramline saw police provided with an HGV tractor unit by National Highways, which allowed officers to carry out patrols across the county’s strategic road network and use this elevated position to detect any drivers committing offences.

The initiative took place between Monday 29 April and Friday 3 May and involved officers from the Commercial Vehicle Unit, the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, and the Road Casualty Reduction Team, with enforcement taking place on the A14, A12 and A11.

The HGV tractor unit – which was driven by a police officer – provides an ideal vantage point meaning officers can look directly into the cabs of other lorry drivers, whilst also dealing with any offending motorists driving vans or cars too. Supporting police officers are then on hand to pull-over any offenders.

A total of 210 vehicles were stopped, including 94 HGVs and 51 smaller goods vehicles.

226 offences were detected and the drivers in question were issued with Traffic Offence Reports (TORs), some having committed more than one offence.

Two people were arrested: one lorry driver on suspicion of drug-driving and possession of cannabis; and one car driver on suspicion of drug-driving.

166 TORs were issued, with the primary offences highlighted below:

77 for not wearing a seatbelt
53 for using a mobile phone
34 for construction and use (roadworthiness offences)
18 for an insecure load
15 for driving without due care and attention
nine for excess speed
five for no insurance
three for not being in proper control
two for driver’s hours

Sergeant Scott Lee-Amies, of the Joint Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “The sheer number of offences detected during this week of action once again highlights the importance of running these operations.

“It is particularly concerning that 140 of the 226 offences detected (which is over 60%) were from the ‘Fatal 4’ main causes of fatal or serious injury collisions: not wearing a seatbelt; using a mobile phone; excess speed; and drink/drug driving.

“These are not trivial offences – they can and do result in people suffering serious harm – and we will continue to do all we can to make our roads safer for everyone. The Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU) should take particular credit for their efforts in organising this event and for the work they undertake on our trunk roads day in, day out, to identify anyone committing offences.

“Our thanks once again goes to National Highways for providing us with the HGV tractor unit free of charge. This enables us to carry-out enforcement in respect of this group of road users, who are in control of the biggest and therefore potentially most dangerous vehicles on the roads.”

Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “Well done to everyone involved in this successful Tramline operation. Another excellent example of the Constabulary’s pro-active approach to enforcement resulting in our roads being safer for us all.

“I simple cannot comprehend how anyone could get behind the wheel whilst under the influence of drugs – risking not only their own lives but the lives of all those on the roads around them. It really does show how important these campaigns are.

“I also find it disappointing that so many drivers – particularly those who rely on their driving licence for their livelihood – still need to be reminded about something so obvious as putting on a seat belt or not using their mobile phones. Nobody can say they don’t know the possible consequences of such actions.

“I spent time with the roads policing unit on a previous campaign and was amazed at what you see from an HGV cab, it really does give officers an opportunity to see offences they might otherwise miss so I’d like to thank National Highways for providing the vehicle, this partnership working really does pay dividends.”

National Highways Assistant Regional Safety Co-ordinator, Marie Biddulph, said: “Our goal, working with our police partners, is to encourage that minority of drivers who continue to put themselves and others at risk to reconsider their behaviour and join the law-abiding majority.

“A good day for us is having no offences spotted by officers in our HGV cab. But if that doesn’t happen, at least we know that we have prevented some unsafe driving continuing thanks to Operation Tramline.

“From their elevated position in the cab, officers can see down into cars and vans and across into HGVs, so people should know they can be spotted, whatever vehicle they are in.”