More than 600 offences on the M6 in one week
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More than 600 offences were discovered in a week of action by police and Highways England patrolling the M6 in unmarked HGV ‘supercabs’.
Police officers caught 92 drivers using their mobile phones – with one playing online poker and another FaceTiming his partner.
Failing to wear a seatbelt was the most common offence with 138 people seen risking their lives without the safety protection.
In total there were 594 vehicles stopped by police using unmarked cabs including 230 HGVs and 199 private vehicles. Action taken ranged from words of advice or fixed penalty notices to traffic offences being reported and even eight arrests.
The unmarked Operation Tramline HGV cabs are funded by Highways England and used by police forces across the country. They were a key part of the multi-agency week of action which ran from Monday 24 May to Sunday 30 May.
The campaign took place along the length of the M6, the longest motorway in the country. As well as the Operation Tramline HGV cabs, there were also additional police patrols, vehicle stops and advice given to drivers at motorway services by campaign partners.
Highways England deals with around 180 reported incidents on the M6 every day including a large number of traffic collisions – 4,222 were reported on the M6 in 2019.
But the week of action, which ran under the banner of Operation Vertabrae, saw a reduction in the number of incidents and traffic collisions.
The number of incidents recorded by Highways England reduced during the campaign from 1,301 the week before to 1,287 while the number of traffic collisions fell 17% from 71 to 59.
Six forces took part in the operation – Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Warwickshire Police and Central Motorway Police Group.
Among the dangerous drivers spotted during the campaign was a motorist who had no insurance or licence, was not wearing a seatbelt and neither was a four-year-old child sat on someone’s lap in the car. Warwickshire Police stopped a driver who was found to have 22 points on their licence and no insurance.
In addition to the Operation Tramline figures, the North West Commercial Vehicle Unit also stopped 85 HGV and LGVs. Of these, 45 offences were discovered including unsafe tyres and breaches over the drivers’ hours and load weight.
The unit used marked police cars to stop commercial vehicles on the M6 across the northwest. Among the incidents they spotted was a driver reversing back along a live lane at junction 18 in Cheshire because he had overshot the junction.
Other agencies taking part in the week of action included the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Health and Safety Executive, HM Revenue and Customs and the Home Office.
The DVSA carried out checks at eight locations along the M6 checking caravans and trailers, vans and HGVs. They discovered 216 vehicle defects including tyres and brakes. Also 229 roadside offences such as drivers’ hours' breaches and overweight vehicles.
Photo credit @ Highways England