Lorry driver caught booking a ferry on his laptop while travelling on M5

A man has been caught booking a ferry on his laptop while driving a lorry, while police caught another lorry driver using Facebook at the wheel The instances were just two of more than 100 driving offences uncovered by officers with the help of the Devon & Cornwall police force’s stealth HGV lorry cab during a two-week operation in Devon this month. Operation Tramline saw officers using the HGV to patrol the M5, A30, A38 and sections of the A361.

And as a result 82 vehicles were stopped and 105 offences were recorded – including a whopping 37 instances of drivers using their mobile phone at the wheel. Inspector Pete Thomas of the Alliance Roads Policing Team, said: “Astonishingly, one articulated lorry driver was travelling up the M5 while using a laptop computer to book his ferry and another articulated lorry driver was on Facebook.
Inspector Thomas continued: “A category of offence that we are particularly keen to identify and to discourage is that of driving while distracted and thus unsafely.

The obvious one is driving while using a handheld mobile device but equally the same risk applies to the several drivers who were stopped for reading maps and diaries whilst driving. “There is no excuse for illegal, irresponsible and dangerous behaviour which can lead to causing harm on our roads.”

The operation employed officers from the Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police Alliance Roads Policing Team, and focused on those driving heavy and light goods vehicles. However in the course of their duties officers recorded offences by drivers of other types of vehicles and assisted at the scene of five collisions. Insp Thomas said: “Officers from the Alliance Roads Policing Unit, as well as dealing with their daily duties, have identified numerous offences and offenders that were potentially placing themselves and other road users in danger.

“The operation utilised Highways England’s unmarked HGV to help detect offences and continued the work to make our roads safer for all.


Read next: The lorry, the bus and the wolfpack: The creative ways police are catching dodgy drivers in Plymouth[1][2]


“The operation and offences that have been detected highlight the need to maintain a proactive policing presence on our roads so that we can continue to safeguard the public.” A significant asset used during the operation was the unmarked HGV unit which is a national asset owned by Highways England and loaned to police forces around the country in rotation. Its high viewpoint and stealthy nature make it an ideal platform from which to observe and record offences by road users.

In its first 16 month of operation (April 2015 to March 2017), the truck cab has been instrumental in stopping almost 2,700 drivers for unsafe driving across the UK.


Read next:This is the Wolf Pack and it’s cracking down on the ‘Fatal Four’ driving offences[3][4]


In December 2016 the HGV recorded a particularly dangerous manouevre by a motorist travelling on the A38 as part of Operation Allied Wolf.
While travelling among busy traffic on the dual carriageway in Plymouth, the blue Vauxhall Corsa suddenly pulled out into the outside lane – seemingly without indicating – narrowly avoiding a collision with the white police HGV behind and the unmarked police car in front. The Corsa accelerated away, but the police caught up with the vehicle when it was queuing in traffic at the Manadon Roundabout and order the driver to pull in at a lay-by to receive some advice on his future conduct.

A farmer was caught snapchatting on his mobile[5] while driving a tractor on the A38 during the same operation.
The teenager was spotted by undercover cops as he drove down the A38 while using the messaging app.


Read next: Watch police catch Plymouth drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel[6][7]


Officers say he told them he was not talking on the phone, but was in fact using the popular app Snapchat.
Police dished out three points and a ?100 fine to the 17-year-old – which as a first-time offender could be scrapped if he goes on a day-long awareness course.


Offences included:

Use of mobile phone handheld 37

Excess speed 24 Not in proper control of vehicle 8 Careless driving 2

No insurance 3 No MOT 3 No vehicle excise license (VEL) formerly known as “tax disc” 2

Glass not as prescribed (tinted windows) 3

Penalties included:

13 offences reported for proceedings

53 OSCO’s (Officer Seen Conditional Offers or fixed penalties)

13 graduated fixed penalty notices (these apply to the weight of commercial vehicles) total ?2600

6 immediate prohibitions


Read next

References

  1. ^ Read next: (www.plymouthherald.co.uk)
  2. ^ The lorry, the bus and the wolfpack: The creative ways police are catching dodgy drivers in Plymouth (www.plymouthherald.co.uk)
  3. ^ Read next: (www.plymouthherald.co.uk)
  4. ^ This is the Wolf Pack and it’s cracking down on the ‘Fatal Four’ driving offences (www.plymouthherald.co.uk)
  5. ^ caught snapchatting on his mobile (www.plymouthherald.co.uk)
  6. ^ Read next: (www.plymouthherald.co.uk)
  7. ^ Watch police catch Plymouth drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel (www.plymouthherald.co.uk)

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