'Supercabs' help police crack down on dangerous motorway driving
A recent initiative by Highways England saw three unmarked HGV ‘supercabs’ taking to the M1 to help catch dangerous drivers.
The Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks were acquired by Highways England in 2018 to help police identify people committing offences behind the wheel.
They have derestricted speed limiters which mean they can travel at speeds up to the national speed limit, and flashing lights have been installed for use by police in an emergency.
The high vantage point enables officers to look down on car and van drivers to catch people texting, using a smartphone or not wearing a seatbelt, Motoring Research reports. Officers are also well placed to spot lorry drivers who may be driving without due care and attention.
During the week of action on the M1, 200 drivers were stopped by police for offences ranging from using a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel to not wearing a seatbelt and careless driving.
Police officers filed 133 traffic offence reports — usually requiring drivers to attend a driver education course — and there were five prosecutions for more serious offences, Highways England said.
Hundreds of motorists were also given safety tips at motorway services.
The safety initiative also helped to cut motorway collisions by a third, with the number of incidents falling to 64 from 90 during the previous week.
Northamptonshire Police was one of the forces involved in the week-long initiative. PC Dave Lee from the Safer Roads Team said:
“It is always disappointing to catch drivers breaking the law. However, with a high number of motorists observed throughout the operation, these figures show it’s a small minority who continue to commit these types of offences.
“Our main priority is to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads by clamping down on the fatal four offences, which are speeding, drink/drug driving, seatbelt and mobile phone use. Working with our partners on such operations enables us to take a strong and robust approach to identify road traffic offences.”
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