Over 250 offences detected during operation using HGV supercab

Police in Suffolk made seven arrests, stopped over 200 vehicles and detected more than 250 offences, as part of a week-long operation primarily focused on heavy goods vehicles, but also detecting any offences committed by all other motorists.  

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 focus on offences committed by lorry drivers.  

Officers from the operation tramline team – photo credit Suffolk Police

The initiative took place between Monday 10 October and Friday 14 October and involved officers from the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, Road Casualty Reduction Team and the Commercial Vehicle Unit, with enforcement taking place on the A14, A11 and A12.

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 216 vehicles were stopped, including 116 HGVs and 68 smaller goods vehicles.

Seven people were arrested as follows: six on suspicion of drug-driving; and one on suspicion of possession of cannabis and driving whilst disqualified.

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

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

  • 120 for not wearing a seatbelt
  • 41 for using a mobile phone
  • 33 for construction and use (roadworthiness offences)
  • 25 for an insecure load
  • 13 for driving without due care and attention
  • four for excess speed
  • four for no insurance

Sergeant Scott Lee-Amies, of the Joint Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “The necessity of running this type of operation to help keep our roads safe has once again been proven by the sheer number of offences detected.

“Not only were seven people arrested – six of which were for drug-driving, which directly puts the lives of others at risk – 56% of the drivers stopped were not wearing a seatbelt and 19% were using a mobile phone. Considering that some of these offenders were professional drivers, those statistics are completely unacceptable.  

“We are once again very grateful for the support of National Highways in providing us with the HGV tractor unit free of charge, which 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. 

“We will continue to do all we can to provide enforcement and education around the ‘fatal four’ main causes of fatal and serious injury collisions, which are drink/drug driving; speeding; using a mobile phone; and lastly, not wearing a seatbelt – which once again has featured heavily in one of these operations.”

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

“It’s very disappointing that 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. And to think a driver could get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs is quite unbelievable. I just can’t understand why anyone would risk their own life and the lives of others by driving when either they, or their vehicle, is unfit for the road.

“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, it really does pay dividends.” 

National Highways safety spokesperson, in the East of England, Adrian Clothier, said: “We know the majority of people drive safely and sensibly but unfortunately a minority of motorists flout the law and put themselves and others at risk.

“Working closely with our police partners in Suffolk through the use of the supercabs we want to encourage all drivers – whatever vehicle they are in – to think twice about their behaviour behind the wheel and to help us make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.”