Unmarked police ‘supercab’ HGV tractor units are now patrolling the M25 in a bid to improve safety on London’s orbital motorway. According to National Highways, the government-run organisation in charge of the country’s motorways and major A-roads, the cabs are part of the multi-agency Operation Orbital crackdown on driving offences.
The two-week Operation Orbital sees the supercabs, which have no speed limiters and flashing blue lights, film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles. The offending drivers can then be pulled over by more conventional police cars following a short distance behind.
The police vehicles have already been put to work across the UK, filming more than 21,000 offences on British motorways. Now, the trucks will work alongside the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, Surrey and Thames Valley Police in Operation Orbital.
The National Highways-organised operation will also include the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which will assist with checks on vans and lorries. In particular, enforcement officers will be on the lookout for road worthiness, secure loads, weight, and drivers’ hours, as they attempt to improve safety on London’s orbital motorway.
Colin Evans, the regional road safety coordinator for National Highways in the south-east of England, said the operation would make the M25 safer for all road users.
“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,” he said. “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. The two weeks of action will see enforcement agencies carrying out checks along the M25 to help improve safety for everyone.”
Meanwhile the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for roads policing, Chief Constable Jo Shiner, said the police would crack down on drivers who flouted the law.
“Operation Orbital is a successful collaboration between the police and National Highways,” she 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 National Highways on Operation Orbital and will take action against drivers who ignore the risks.”