Officers from our Roads Policing Team have taken to new heights to create safer roads across South Yorkshire as part of the NPCC’s crackdown on mobile phone use.
As part of February’s month of action, Highways England provided South Yorkshire Police with an unmarked HGV tractor unit, which allowed our officers to see inside vehicles of a greater height, including HGV’s and LGV’s.
South Yorkshire Police are the first force to take receipt of the vehicle in the North of England.
The height of the vehicle enabled officers to film any unsafe driver behaviour taking place.
Over 2,000 people were killed or seriously injured as a result of a driver being impaired or distracted on England’s motorways and major A-roads over five years.
Roads Policing Sergeant Bruce Yacomeni explains more about the operation, he said: “I am extremely pleased that South Yorkshire Police are the first force in the country to make use of this unmarked HGV, provided fully funded through partnership working with Highways England.
“We have an extensive motorway network running through South Yorkshire and work hard to ensure the safety of all users.
“This initiative has allowed us to enhance and increase our detection rates of those drivers using their mobile phone behind the wheel, or committing other #Fatal4 offences; drink and drug driving, speeding and not wearing a seat belt.”
Officers who have had advanced driving have carried out daily operations.
During the week, 41 drivers were found to be driving without wearing a seat belt, 19 drivers were found to be using their mobile phone while driving, six were driving in excessive speed and ten were found to not be in proper control of their vehicle.
In addition to these drivers, 22 drivers were dealt with for licencing and document offences, including no insurance or MOT.
Four people were also arrested for separate offences, three on suspicion of shoplifting and one on suspicion of money laundering.
Highways England Regional Road Safety Co-ordinator for Yorkshire and North East, Sarah Watson-Quirk added: “The vast majority of people drive responsibly and we hope this operation will encourage all road users to drive safely.
“We have several lorry cabs at Highways England that provide the police will a valuable tool to carry out their job enforcing the law. Unfortunately around 450 people are killed or seriously injured every year on England’s motorways and major A roads as a result of a driver being impaired or distracted.
“Those who break the law by using mobile phones or distracted in other ways are putting lives at risk.”
For more information about the operation, watch a short video clip of Operational Support Superintendent Paul McCurry here.
A video of the operation and a driver being caught using his mobile phone behind the wheel can be viewed here.
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