Hundreds of offences detected after police operation targets lorry drivers
PUBLISHED: 12:16 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:29 27 March 2019
Police officers driving a borrowed lorry have issued more than 300 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) as part of an operation targeting heavy goods vehicles.
As part of Operation Wyken, police were provided with the cab of a lorry from Orwell Truck and Van, which they used to patrol the A14, A12 and A11 between March 11 and March 20, targeting mainly heavy goods vehicle drivers.
The cab, which was driven by an officer, allowed police to better look into the cabs of other heavy goods vehicles and cars.
A team of road policing officers accompanied them to assist with stopping offenders.
On the lookout for drivers without seatbelts, those using mobile phones and other offences, police issued 313 TORs, recovering £36,150 in fines.
The most common offence, detected 225 times, was for drivers not wearing seatbelts, with 59 also caught using a mobile phone while at the wheel.
Other offences included careless driving and driving with no MOT.
A further two people were arrested, one on suspicion of drug driving and another one for failing to appear at court after being issued with a warrant.
Sergeant Julian Ditcham, of the roads and armed policing team, which led the operation, said: “Due to the physical height of commercial vehicles, it is often difficult for patrol officers to view into the cab and thereby detect offences such as not wearing a seatbelt or using a mobile phone.
“The HGV cab provides officers with an ideal vantage point to spot drivers committing offences and provides us with another means to enforce the law with this specific group of road users, who due to the size of the vehicles they are in control of, pose an added risk to other motorists and also themselves if they are committing offences whilst driving.
“Wearing a seatbelt can prevent many collision-related injuries and fatalities and it is compulsory for drivers to wear them, and they should ensure their passengers buckle-up too. Using a mobile phone distracts drivers and increases their chances of being involved in a serious or fatal collision.
“We would also offer our thanks to Orwell Trucks for once again supporting this road safety campaign, which we have run for a number of years now and will continue to do so.”
Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore also praised the campaign, saying: “I fully support the Constabulary’s campaign to crack down on irresponsible drivers who still refuse – despite all the public messages - to buckle up whilst driving, but it amazes me that drivers should need to be reminded about something so obvious.
“I spent an hour or two with the roads policing unit on a previous operation and was amazed at what you see when you are at eye-level with other HGVs – it is absolutely staggering.
“I can’t believe that professional drivers can risk their lives, their livelihood, and the lives others, looking at their phones and not wearing seatbelts. It is shocking.”
Hannah Foden, truck sales co-ordinator for Orwell Truck and Van said: “Road safety is at the forefront of everything we do at Orwell Truck & Van so we were delighted to be asked to support the efforts of Suffolk Police for a third successive year.
“Mercedes-Benz trucks are equipped with the very latest passive and active safety features but, like all road-going vehicles, rely upon the awareness of a qualified driver to prevent accidents on the road. If Operation Wyken has helped to avoid just one such accident, it’s been worthwhile.”
The operation ran alongside a two-week national seatbelt enforcement campaign as well as a Europe-wide campaign by the European Traffic Police Network.
Traffic Offence Reports are issued at the roadside and sent to the Central Ticket Office, which then decides whether to issue a fixed penalty scheme, enrol the driver on an education course, or to issue a court summons.