Suffolk Police aim to make roads safer with crack down on commercial vehicles

Police in Suffolk are supporting a nationwide enforcement campaign focusing on vehicles used for businesses and trades and with the ultimate aim of making roads safer.

Commercial Vehicle Week is led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and runs from today, Monday 17 July, until Sunday 23 July.

As part of the operation officers from the Joint Roads and Armed Policing Team, Road Casualty Reduction Team and Commercial Vehicle Unit will carry out extra patrols in both marked and unmarked vehicles concentrating on offences committed by all manner of commercial drivers, including those of lorries, vans, buses, plant vehicles, agricultural machinery and taxis.

Checks will be conducted primarily along the strategic road network with enforcement focused along the A14, A12 and A11.

As always, drivers committing fatal four offences will be targeted (drink/drug-driving; speeding; using a mobile phone; and not wearing a seatbelt), but with commercial vehicles there are a whole raft of other potential offences, including exceeding driver hours, insecure loads, overweight vehicles and dangerous loads.

The operation also provides opportunities to disrupt anyone using the road network for criminal purposes and to reinforce the message that Suffolk is a hostile environment for them to operate in.

Chief Inspector Jon Chapman, Head of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “Commercial vehicles account for a large percentage of the traffic on our roads and due to either their size (in the case of HGVs), or in many cases their loads, they have the potential to cause the most damage if they are involved in a collision.

“People who drive many of these vehicles for a living – such as lorries, delivery vans, buses and taxis – are considered as professional drivers, therefore they should take extra care when it comes to the safety of their vehicle and the manner of their driving.

“The primary focus of this operation is about making our roads safer for all users and whilst we will always seek to engage with and educate drivers in the first instance, those found to be committing offences will be dealt with in a robust manner.

“Every day our officers see first-hand the dangers posed by either poor driving or unroadworthy vehicles and our number one priority is to keep everyone safe and reduce collisions that result in people being seriously injured or killed.”

Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said: Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said: “I am delighted to see this focus on commercial vehicles this week.

“Keeping our roads safe and the traffic free-flowing is important right across the county, but particularly on the A14, A12 and A11 where there are a higher ratio of commercial vehicles.

“The A14 is a vital national gateway to the Port of Felixstowe – the largest container port in the country – and we have a huge amount of commercial traffic travelling across the county which needs to be monitored for dangerous vehicles and driver offences.

“Our Commercial Vehicle Unit was funded by the policing precept of the council tax a couple of years ago and has had some tremendous results.

“I hope the publicity around this week of action will make all drivers take an extra bit of time to ensure their vehicles are fit for the road and safely loaded, and it goes without saying that the drivers themselves are fit to drive.”