The police’s ‘Supercab’ HGV tractor vehicles have helped to stop almost 20,000 vehicles since the summer of 2015. The unmarked vehicles are part of the police’s Operation Tramline, which aims to improve safety on the country’s strategic road network, which includes motorways and major A-roads.
Highways England, the organisation in charge of the strategic road network, has loaned the vehicles to the police to give them an elevated view of other vehicles. That means they can see into almost any vehicle, from small hatchbacks to other HGVs, allowing the cameras to record dangerous driving and other offences.
Footage released by Highways England shows a truck veering onto the hard shoulder of the M40 and back again, narrowly avoiding a collision with another HGV. However, the other HGV was a police ‘Supercab’ tractor, and the driver caught in the footage was using his mobile phone.
It’s just one of the incidents the HGVs have caught on camera, with more than 21,000 offences recorded by the vehicles. Between July 2015 and April 2021, around 19,500 vehicles have been stopped.
Following this success, the HGV cabs are now being used as part of a multi-agency week of safety action on the M6, taking place from Monday, May 24 to Sunday, May 30. Highways England hopes the plan will cut the number of incidents on the motorway and highlight the risks of dangerous driving.
Highways England’s head of road safety, Jeremy Phillips, said the HGV cabs were there to improve safety and the operation on the M6 could encourage drivers to “consider their driving behaviour”.
“The Operation Tramline cabs are an important part of our commitment to tackling dangerous driving and those who take unnecessary risks with their own safety and that of others on the road,” he said. “The number of people found using their mobile phone while driving is quite alarming. You are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone and, if caught, face a £200 fine and six points on your licence. Through this week of action on the M6 we want to make all of our roads safer by raising awareness and encouraging motorists to consider their driving behaviour.”
And the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead for roads policing, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, said the Supercab project had been a success.
“Operation Tramline is a successful collaboration between the police and Highways England,” he said. “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 Highways England on Operation Tramline and will prosecute drivers who ignore the risks.”