Over 200 offences detected during operation targeting drivers of HGVs
Police in Suffolk have issued over 200 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) after targeting drivers of heavy goods vehicles as part of an operation which coincided with a week-long seatbelt enforcement campaign.
As part of Operation Wyken, police were provided with a HGV cab from Orwell Trucks, which allowed officers to carry out patrols on the A14, A12 and A11 targeting motorists including lorry drivers.
The cab, which was driven by a police officer, provides an ideal vantage point meaning officers can look into cabs of other lorry drivers or looking down at cars or vans. A team of roads policing and Road Casualty reduction officers, accompanied them to stop any offenders.
During the operation the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing and Firearms Operation Unit (RPFOU) and the Road Casualty Reduction Team (RCRT) recorded the following offences:
- 181 for not wearing a seatbelt (the majority issued to HGV drivers)
24 for using a mobile phone
4 for driving not in proper control
3 careless driving offences
2 dangerous condition offences
1 each of the following: contravening a red light; registration offence; operator licence offence; excess speed
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 (12-18 March) in Suffolk.
Wearing a seatbelt can prevent many collision-related injuries and fatalities and it is compulsory drivers wear them, and ensure their passengers buckle-up too.
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.”
Seatbelts should be worn in any vehicle they are provided in, including buses and goods vehicles.
Anyone caught not wearing a seatbelt may be issued with a TOR (Traffic Offence Report) and face a fine, points on their licence or even court action.