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Suffolk police record over 200 traffic offences during one week operation targeting HGV drivers

PUBLISHED: 12:14 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:37 23 March 2018

Sgt Julian Ditcham and PCC Tim Passmore, along with officers from the RPFOU & RCRT and representatives of Orwell Trucks. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE/KAREN WILLIE

Sgt Julian Ditcham and PCC Tim Passmore, along with officers from the RPFOU & RCRT and representatives of Orwell Trucks. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE/KAREN WILLIE

KAREN WILLIE

Police in Suffolk have recorded over 200 traffic offences largely by drivers of heavy goods vehicles in just one week – 180 of which were for not wearing a seatbelt.

As part of Operation Wyken, police were provided with an HGV cab which allowed officers to carry out patrols on the A14, A12 and A11, targeting motorists including lorry drivers.

Over the course of the operation, which took place between March 12 and March 18, police recorded 181 people not wearing a seatbelt (the majority of which were HGV drivers), 24 using a mobile phone, and four driving while not in proper control.

They also issed Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) to three people driving carelessly, two in dangerous conditions, and one for driving through a red light.

The operation was run by the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing and Firearms Operation Unit (RPFOU) and the Road Casualty Reduction Team (RCRT).

Sergeant Julian Ditcham, who 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 using a mobile phone, which distracts drivers and increases their chances of being involved in a serious of fatal collision.

“The HGV cab provides officers with an ideal vantage point to spot dangerous driving, either catching people using mobile phones or not wearing a seatbelt. This was a successful campaign and will be repeated in the future.

“We would also offer our thanks to Orwell Trucks for supporting this road safety campaign and the Europe-wide TISPOL Seatbelt campaign in Suffolk.”

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, said: “I fully support the Constabulary’s campaign to crack down on irresponsible drivers who still refuse 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 another HGVs – it’s absolutely staggering. I can’t believe that professional drivers can risk their lives, and their livelihood, looking at their phones and not wearing seatbelts. It’s shocking.

“Everyone knows you are more likely to die in a crash if you don’t wear a seat belt, so I just can’t understand why anyone would flout this law.”

Anyone caught not wearing a seatbelt may be issued with a TOR and face a fine, points on their licence or even court action.

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