Police forces across south-west England are now using heavy goods vehicles to catch those who break the rules on the M4 and M5 motorways. The specially prepared HGV tractor units are able to record footage of drivers flouting the law, allowing offenders to be prosecuted.
Between Monday, September 13 and Sunday, September 26, the vehicles will be used as part of a multi-agency safety initiative on the M4 and M5 motorways in south-west England. It’s hoped the use of the unmarked trucks will reduce the number of accidents on the motorways, and “highlight the risks” of dangerous driving.
From their elevated position, the officers inside the cab can see into the cabins of other vehicles, no matter what they are. This allows them to see the offences committed by drivers of HGVs and roadsters alike. Consequences for those caught include fixed penalty notices, court summons or even arrest.
The cabs have already proved their worth in the region this year, with Avon and Somerset Police using the vehicles over four weeks in 2021. Over those weeks, the force has recorded 186 people driving without a seatbelt, 26 people using a mobile phone while driving and 129 other offences, such as driving without due care and attention.
Alongside the patrols by the HGV cabs, the police and National Highways, the organisation in charge of the UK’s motorways and major A-road, will be at motorway service areas, giving drivers advice on breakdowns and securing their loads. National Highways officers will also be offering drivers tyre checks and safety tips, while the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will be carrying out vehicle checks at “various locations along the M4 and M5”.
“The HGV cabs are an important part of our commitment to tackling unsafe driving and those who take unnecessary risks with their own safety and that of others on the road,” said Nicholas Reed, National Highways’ road safety lead for the south-west of England. “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 fortnight of action on the M5 and M4 we want to make all of our roads safer by raising awareness and encouraging motorists to consider their driving behaviour.”