Derbyshire’s unmarked HGV returned to the roads tackling unsafe road users
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In January, the force received Highways England’s unmarked HGV tractor unit to utilise throughout the year, with the aim to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.
After the successful result from the initial launch of Op Tramline in Derbyshire, a further week-long enforcement operation, aimed at improving driver behaviour and to reduce incidents on the roads by unsafe drivers, took place earlier this month.
Between 01-05 March 2021 a total of 138 offences were recorded across the county. Top violations included 6 drivers being found to have no licence, 5 with a lack of insurance, 11 drivers using mobile phones whilst behind the wheel and 9 drivers were found not to be in proper control of their vehicles. Multiple vehicles were being driven in a dangerous condition or with defects and at our static service station check-sites many commercial and heavy goods vehicles had insecure loads or were over the legal weight limit. From the tireless work in this intensive operation, 7 vehicles have now been removed from our roads and 8 prohibitions were issued due to vehicle roadworthiness.
Utilising unmarked HGVs can provide officers with an elevated view, which can help in identifying dangerous road users, that could be missed in standard patrol vehicles. Officers drive alongside vehicles in the tractor unit, recording any unsafe driving behaviour and alerting our Roads Policing Unit, who then pull over the offending drivers.
Inspector Greg Hunt, who leads the force’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “It is always disappointing to see the number of individuals who continue to take to the roads, driving in a reckless manner, with no regard for their own safety or the safety of others. Some drivers have just got into bad habits, whilst others just simply ignore the law – which, as we’ve seen time and time again, can result in devastating consequences.
“We are proud to be working in collaboration with Highways England once more. By utilising the HGV for covert tactics, we get a unique opportunity to capture poor driver behaviour that can sometimes go unnoticed. Not only can this operation be used to help educate and prevent crime, but it can also save lives.
“Offences recorded in operations like these, demonstrate that our team are working relentlessly each day to protect Derbyshire’s road users and keep the local community from harm.
“We are really pleased with the results from Op Tramline and I know my Unit will continue to remove dangerous drivers from our roads and strive to keep the roads of Derbyshire safe.
Highways England Assistant Regional Safety Co-ordinator, Marie Biddulph, said:
“Safety is always our number one priority and through initiatives such as Operation Tramline, we are working closely with our police partners to try to prevent incidents happening on our roads.
“We want everyone who works for us and travels on our roads to get home safely, which is why it is so important that we reach that minority of drivers who flout the law - putting themselves and others at risk.
“Knowing that the Operation Tramline HGVs are patrolling our motorways and major A-roads, we hope that all motorists will consider their driving behaviour and help to make sure all road users get home safe and sound.”