Boozy tractor driver and motorist reading paperwork on motorway

Drivers have been caught reading paperwork and using mobile phones at the wheel. North Yorkshire Police has been using an unmarked HGV truck to give officers a vantage point on some of the area’s key routes. The force began Operation Tramline in June to discover if road users were committing traffic offences, such as driving using a mobile phone.

If officers see an offence taking place, the vehicle is pulled over by marked units so the driver can be dealt with immediately. Police said the driving they observed by the vast majority of road users was “overwhelmingly responsible”. However, a number of drivers have been dealt with for various incidents detected by the operation.

A European-registered HGV with extensive collision damage

These include:
o A tractor driver, who shouldn’t even have been on the motorway, driving while using a mobile phone who still had alcohol in his system from a previous night of drinking.
o A European-registered HGV with extensive collision damage which the driver was intending on driving to Dover.

The vehicle was prohibited by colleagues from DVSA and he was issued on the spot fines of GBP900.
o A van driver who was observed using his mobile phone on one day and three days later stopped again for driving his vehicle in a dangerously overloaded condition.
o A disqualified driver, driving an overweight van and trailer and using his phone at the same time.
o Drivers of various vehicles seen reading/checking paperwork whilst driving on the motorway.
o Various drivers seen talking on their phones, some completely oblivious to the fact that they were being recorded.

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Traffic Constable Mark Patterson, who organised the operation, said: “By using the unmarked truck on loan from Highways England, we can check all drivers are following the rules of the road and not doing anything that could distract them, such as using a handheld mobile phone. “HGV, van and coach drivers are professionals, but even the professionals make mistakes sometimes, which can have catastrophic results in such a heavy vehicle. It is important to note however that this operation was not designed to target HGV drivers and in fact the results show that equal number of goods and private vehicles were dealt with.

“Op Tramline has seen us deploy to numerous locations. And I’m pleased to say that while we did deal with a number of offences, the driving we’ve observed has been overwhelmingly responsible, safe and legal, especially from those in the haulage sector. “It’s further testament to how well these key workers have helped keep the country going during lockdown.”

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Highways England works with police forces around the country to ensure driving standards remain high among all types of road users.

Anthony Thorpe, Highways England incident prevention advisor, said: “The HGV cab project, which is funded by Highways England, has been patrolling motorways and major A roads over the past couple of years with the aim of improving road safety.

“It provides an ideal viewing platform for police officers to identify dangerous driving behaviour that can be difficult to spot from standard police patrol vehicles – for example texting while driving.

“Highways England is committed to working collaboratively with our partners in the police to improve road safety and we will continue to use the HGV cab to tackle deaths and serious injuries and to encourage people to improve how they drive.”

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