Video/Gallery: Essex Police safety operation on A12 sparked by ‘worrying’ rise in casualty rate stops 144 vehicles

Essex Police patrolling the A12 as part of Operation Nash

Essex Police patrolling the A12 as part of Operation Nash - Credit: Archant

A police safety operation on the A12 today was organised after a “worrying” spike in the casualty rate.

A multi-agency day of action is being held along the length of the A12 led by Essex Police, along with HM Revenue & Customs, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and other bodies.

As well as checking for drivers not wearing seatbelts or using their mobile phone, officers were also looking for illegal waste carriers or criminals using the county’s road network to get around.

Around 100 officers were involved in the day, which is part of the ongoing Operation Nash in Essex.

Adam Pipe, casualty reduction officer for Essex Police, said: “We did this in response to an increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in October which is worrying.

“There were 74 KSIs in October, compared to 58 in October last year.

“That is worrying, and today is an opportunity to try and focus the minds of road users in Essex to think about safety.

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“Young people and older drivers in particular have often been involved.

“The A12 is a priority route for us, we know there are issues with casualties and congestion.

“If drivers make small changes in their behaviour – remove in car distractions, give the car in front a bit more distance – then it makes the road safer.

“It is the small shunts at peak times of day which are causing significant disruption.

“Ultimately today could save the lives of drivers in Essex.”

As part of the operation Essex Police sent out its own lorry cab on patrol.

De-limited allowing it to travel at 70mph the cab, complete with driver and spotter, has a better vantage point to spot both car and lorry drivers committing offences.

Within just one hour it spotted two people not wearing seatbelts and two on mobile phones.

PC Al Cuthbert who was driving the lorry said: “The high vantage point means we can look down into cars and see what they are doing – often people have mobile phones in their laps which are perhaps harder to spot from a normal patrol car.

“People come up with all sorts of excuses, and seem to think if they’re talking to their gran in hospital I will think it’s fine. But it’s a double-edged sword because if it is true – and I seriously doubt it most of the time – they are thinking about their nan and not the road.

“Worst case scenario it can result in death, of themselves or another.

“Wait until you’re at home with the handbrake on, then use your mobile phone.

“Anyone can write tickets, but we want to change driver behaviour.”