Once upon a time, speeders and criminals laughed at slow police vehicles. The use of technology has changed all that, as has been demonstrated by a ‘plain clothes’ lorry that’s been trundling up and down English motorways and A-roads since April 2015, nabbing dangerous drivers.
28 English police forces have been using the unmarked HGV during this period, resulting in the prosecution of 4176 drivers driving in a dangerous way. 400 received verbal warnings and over 830 were issued with fixed penalty notices.
The use of handheld mobile phones while driving made up two out of every three offences. One driver in the West Country sent ten text messages during a drive, while another in the Midlands was eating and using his phone at the same time, using his knees to steer.
Another truck driver was spotted checking his handheld mobile with his right foot on the dashboard. One was seen putting toothpaste on a toothbrush and another was posting on Snapchat.
The use of handheld mobile phones while driving figures in about two road deaths per month. 124 people have died in thse circumstances over the last five years with 521 suffering serious injury.
Highways England’s decision to use a lorry was because its extra height allows officers to drive alongside both cars and lorries to see what the drivers are doing. “We will continue to use the HGV to tackle deaths and serious injuries and to encourage people to improve how they drive,” said a Highways England spokesperson.