M1 drivers watching videos, on the phone and not wearing seatbelt caught by unmarked HGV during Northamptonshire crackdown

'Supercab' spots more than 20 offences a day on motorway stretch

Police caught madcap motorists on the M1 not wearing seatbelts, on the phone and even watching videos while driving at 70mph during a crackdown last week.

Officers from Northamptonshire and Leicestershire forces used an unmarked HGV to spot offenders on a stretch of motorway between junctions 16 and junction 22.

Patrols carried out over five days as part of National Highway’s Operation Tramline saw traffic officers film evidence of dodgy driving from the truck's lofty cab.

Police use the 'Supercab' to pull alongside vehicles and gather evidence of unsafe driving

Checks identified a total of 105 offences across both counties of which 79 were in Northamptonshire including 45 for not belting up.

Another ten drivers in Northamptonshire were stopped for using a mobile phone while driving and six were considered not to be in proper control of their vehicle because they were busy doing something else.

PC Dave Lee, of Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team, said: “Reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads remains our priority, and so it is always disappointing to witness drivers breaking the law.

“As a result of Operation Tramline, the chances of getting caught have increased, which can only be a good thing and will hopefully encourage those who continue to put lives in danger to reconsider their driving behaviour.

“To hold a driving licence is a privilege and a responsibility, especially those driving commercial vehicles, and we will continue to work with our partners to take a strong and robust approach to improve road safety.”

Officers used the unmarked HGV — one of three 'Supercabs' used by National Highways on its network of motorways and trunk roads — to pull alongside vehicles and film evidence of unsafe driving. Those spotted committing offences were then stopped by an unmarked police vehicle following a short distance behind.

The trucks have derestricted speed limiters, which means they can travel at speeds up to the national speed limit, and flashing lights for emergencies.

Two vehicles were seized for no insurance and two drivers were issued with words of advice between Monday and Friday (January 28) while a further 15 motorists were stopped for other offences — including watching videos while driving.

All those caught have been reported for offences and will be offered the opportunity to take an online education course if eligible, receive a fixed penalty fine or go to court.