Unmarked HGV catches 24 lorry drivers on M1 in Northamptonshire on day one of safety campaign

Traffic police aboard an unmarked HGV pulled up 24 drivers on the M1 near Northampton on the first day of Operation Journey. Northamptonshire Police launched its latest three-month road safety campaign last week in response to figures which showed 42 deaths and 347 serious injuries on the county’s road during 2019 — the highest for eight years. Monday’s effort included 12 HGV drivers not wearing a seatbelt, two using a mobile phone and five who were “not in proper control of their vehicle”.

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PC Dave Lee, of the Force’s Safer Roads Team said: “It was a great start to Operation Journey on Monday utilising the Highways England unmarked HGV on the M1 to spot drivers misbehaving behind the wheel.

“Out of the 24 offences we detected, four of these were non-UK drivers and were required to pay their fine there and then. “One driver tested us thinking that he wouldn’t be arrested — but just as we are about to take him away he was able to pay up.” Highways England’s three HGVs — dubbed Supercabs — pick up around 4,000 traffic offences on motorways and major A roads such as the A5, A43 and A45 in Northamptonshire each year.

They allow police officers to film evidence of unsafe driving by pulling up alongside vehicles. Offenders are then pulled over by police cars following a short distance behind. Dave Lee and colleague Rob Monk alongside one of the Highways England ‘Supercabs’

Back in 2019, local officers used the ‘Supercabs’ week on the M1 for a week and saw the number of collisions fall by one-third. This week’s launch of Operation Journey is part of a wider strategy to improve road safety and links several initiatives — including the GBP1.3million investment from Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold to add around 100 new cameras to the county’s ANPR network. These cameras will help support the Force as they tackle anti-social driving and identify uninsured vehicles.

Research shows drivers who have no insurance are more likely to be involved in serious road traffic collisions or other types of criminality. Officers can film video evidence to prosecute dangerous drivers Central Operations Superintendent, Adam Ward said: “We want to set up best practice across the Force when it comes to road safety, and to ensure we build on the education and enforcement activities beyond December.

“Operation Journey is more than a three month campaign, it is a commitment by the Force to ensure we not only reduce KSIs this year, but for years to come and to make the roads a safer place for all those that use them.”

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