Nottinghamshire Police’s dedicated roads policing unit targeted criminality as well as unsafe drivers during an operation using an unmarked lorry cab.
Team members used an HGV tractor unit, supplied by National Highways, which enabled them to observe driver behaviour from an elevated position during patrols on main routes.
The HGV allows police officers to film evidence of unsafe and distracting driving behaviour by pulling alongside vehicles and then the offending drivers are intercepted and pulled over safely by police cars following behind.
Drivers were given safety advice after being spotted not wearing seatbelts and a man was reported for driving while on his mobile phone as the operation focused on a stretch of the A1 on Thursday (28 September 2023).
Other key routes, including the M1 and Hermitage Lane in Mansfield, were also targeted during the week of action, the overall aim of which was to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads and to improve road safety using a mixture of engagement, education, and enforcement.
While patrolling the roads on Thursday, the roads policing unit responded spontaneously after reports were received of a suspected cloned van and also a car towing a caravan which was suspected to have been involved in criminality.
Both drivers were swiftly stopped and spoken to while officer carried out checks on the vehicles. The car driver was also reported after being caught driving while using a mobile phone.
Another driver was also grateful for the team’s invention after his Mercedes broke down on a slip road and an officer was able to safely escort him to a nearby truck stop so he could get assistance.
Sergeant Steve Waft, of the roads policing unit, said:
“Our top priority is to make the roads throughout Nottinghamshire as safe as possible for everyone using them.
“It’s not just about enforcement and giving out tickets. If we can stop and educate a driver, through operations such as this, we can make them think twice about their unsafe behaviour and change their attitudes for the better so that we reduce further the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.
“As our operational activity highlighted, as a team we will also deal with any criminality on our roads if we come across it and take appropriate action against offenders.
Sgt Waft added:
“This operation is just a snapshot of the work we do all year round to keep people safe. We will continue to target those committing offences which can cause serious and potentially fatal consequences on our roads, whether it’s people using mobile phones or devices while at the wheel, not wearing a seatbelt, or even people reading books or leaning on their steering wheel while texting which we have previously encountered on our roads.
“Not fully concentrating on the road while you’re driving can have catastrophic consequences which could last a lifetime, especially if you cause a fatal crash by not focusing on the road.
“Drivers need to remember that their actions not only impact on them but also their own family as well as victims and their families.”
Anthony Thorpe, National Highways incident prevention project manager, said:
"We know that the majority of road users drive safely and legitimately. But there are a minority that continue to put themselves and others at risk with stupid, unsafe driving behaviours.
“Through our Operation Tramline HGV cabs, we are working with our police partners to get all drivers to think carefully about what they are doing behind the wheel and to ensure that they are behaving safely.
“Those who don’t do so should know that, from their elevated position in the cab, officers have a much wider vision and can spot dangerous driving behaviours – whatever vehicle the driver may be in.”