Undercover police in lorries to catch unsafe M25 drivers

Police will use unmarked HGV ‘supercabs’ to patrol the M25 in Kent. The two-week crackdown, called Operation Orbital, began today as a bid to improve safety and reduce accidents.

Police patrol motorways and major A-roads in National Highways' HGV cabs. Picture: National Highways Police patrol motorways and major A-roads in National Highways’ HGV cabs. Picture: National Highways

The undercover vehicles will allow police to catch drivers using mobile phones, not wearing seatbelts and any other offences. Officers will film evidence of unsafe driving by pulling up alongside vehicles.

The drivers will then be pulled over by police cars following a short distance behind. The ‘supercabs’ have de-restricted speed limiters, meaning they can travel at speeds up to the national speed limit, and have flashing lights in case of an emergency.

Colin Evans, regional road safety coordinator for National Highways in the South East, said: “Over 7,500 vehicles travel round the M25 every hour, ranging from commuters getting to work to haulage firms delivering goods along the route or overseas. “The vast majority of drivers obey the law but a few are risking potentially devastating consequences by not carrying out appropriate checks before setting off or by driving dangerously.

An HGV driver pictured with a mobile phone in each hand while travelling on the M4.
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pPicture: National Highways An HGV driver pictured with a mobile phone in each hand while travelling on the M4. Picture: National Highways

“The two weeks of action will see enforcement agencies carrying out checks along the M25 to help improve safety for everyone.”

National police chiefs’ council lead for roads policing, Chief Constable Jo Shiner, said the operation was a successful collaboration between the police and National Highways and added: “We remain committed to tackling those who take unnecessary risks with their own safety and the safety of others on our roads by allowing themselves to be distracted while driving. “The consequences of these actions are often devastating. We will continue to work alongside National Highways on Operation Orbital and will take action against drivers who ignore the risks.”

Co-ordinated by National Highways, Operation Orbital involves DVSA and police forces from the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, Surrey and Thames Valley Police.

DVSA’s director of enforcement, Marian Kitson, said: “DVSA’s priority is to protect people from unsafe drivers and vehicles.

The two-week crackdown began today The two-week crackdown began today

“This action, alongside our partners, is to stop people cutting corners on road safety. Every driver or operator has a responsibility to check their vehicle is in a roadworthy condition before beginning a journey. “DVSA is here to support those operators and drivers who do comply and are safe on our roads.

We want to ensure they are not disadvantaged by dangerous and reckless road use.

“We endeavour to support drivers and operators to remain safe, which is why we have produced guidance accessible on GOV.UK to empower commercial road users to make the M25 safe for everybody.”

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