Derbyshire utilise unmarked HGV cab to tackle dangerous road users
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The force is utilising an unmarked HGV tractor unit, to use operationally throughout the year in #OpTramline.
The vehicle, also known as a ‘supercab’, has a de-restricted speed limiter and an elevated driving position, which will allow officers to drive alongside vehicles to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour. After witnessing these offences, our Roads Policing Unit will then be alerted to pull over the offending drivers.
Operation Tramline supports Highways England’s road safety initiative, with the aim to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.
During a week of enforcement, between 25-29 January 2021, officers in the unmarked HGV recorded a total of 64 offences on the roads of Derbyshire. The top offences detected during the operation included 27 drivers using mobile phones whilst behind the wheel, 12 drivers not paying due care or attention to the road and 9 speeding offences. Other recorded crimes involved drivers being stopped with lack of documentation or vehicles with defects - which also resulted in two vehicles being seized.
PC James Crookall, Derbyshire Constabulary lead on Operation Tramline, said: “Though the majority of drivers are sensible when behind the wheel, others have either got into bad driving habits or just simply ignore the law, which can result in tragic consequences.
“The unmarked HGV can provide officers with a unique view, enabling us to identify dangerous drivers that we can sometimes miss in a standard patrol vehicle, such as drivers that text when in control of a vehicle.
“Though commercial vehicle drivers are professionals, they can still sometimes make mistakes, which can have devastating results in such heavy vehicles, therefore, it's another important factor that we also do our part in inspecting their condition and that they are operating in a safe manner.
“Operation Tramline will simply improve road safety for all involved and could save lives.”
Highways England Assistant Regional Safety Coordinator, Marie Biddulph, said: “We are working very closely with our police partners through Operation Tramline to improve driving behaviour and reduce the number of incidents caused by unsafe driving.
“It is always disappointing to the number of people caught flouting the law, putting themselves and others at risk. Using a mobile phone while driving is incredibly dangerous – you are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone.
“Using the supercabs we want to encourage all drivers to think twice about their behaviour behind the wheel and make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.”
In addition to running Operation Tramline last week, the force also ran three static check sites at Tibshelf Services, working with a number of partner agencies such as DVSA, Datatag and the Environment Agency. Friday’s focus was on load security and a Safer Loads training course took place, delivered by HSE aimed at upskilling officers to detect this potentially dangerous offence.
Due to the static check-sites being in place, 132 offences were documented. 27 of these were due to document offences, including seven drivers with lack of insurance and five which were found to have no valid driving licence. The most common condition and use offences included 26 vehicles being found with insecure loads, along with multiple number plate violations and vehicles being driven whilst in a dangerous condition - these checks, resulted in a further two vehicles being seized and 14 prohibitions were issued due to vehicle roadworthiness.
Inspector Greg Hunt, who leads the force’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “We are glad to be collaborating once more with Highways England, tackling those who take unnecessary risks and endangering not only their own lives, but the lives of the road users of Derbyshire.
“We are really pleased with the results from this week and they are a reflection on the in-depth preparation and planning from our officers. Moving forward, I know we will achieve even greater results throughout the year and make the roads of Derbyshire a safer place for all.
"We ask that you follow the present Government guidance and only travel for essential journeys and we always expect you to obey the rules of the road to help protect yourself and keep others safe."
We are currently sharing the work we do across our varied communities as part of Operation Derbyshire.
Operation Derbyshire runs until the end of May. It will see officers and staff sharing with our communities the excellent work that is going on to tackle certain crime types in the county and support victims.
Operation Derbyshire will also highlight the work that we and our partners do to support victims and bring offenders to justice.
You can follow our work on social media by following #OpDerbyshire.