HGV 'supercab' used by Northamptonshire Police to look out for driving offences on M1

PC Dave Lee and Rob Monk in the HGV 'supercab'. Photo: Northamptonshire Police
PC Dave Lee and Rob Monk in the HGV 'supercab'. Photo: Northamptonshire Police

Northamptonshire Police officers helped to reduce collisions on the M1 by almost a third in a week of action, with many people caught committing traffic offences near Northampton.

A total of 42 offenders were spotted by officers in an HGV 'supercab' between junction 15 for Northampton and 23a in Derbyshire during the 'safety week' along the whole motorway in May.

PC Dave Lee and Rob Monk with the HGV 'supercab'. Photo: Northamptonshire Police

PC Dave Lee and Rob Monk with the HGV 'supercab'. Photo: Northamptonshire Police

These included nine drivers using a mobile phone and 24 not wearing their seatbelts, and officers filed 38 traffic offence reports.

PC Dave Lee, of the safer roads team, said: “We work in partnership with Highways England on a number of road safety initiatives, and we are a massive supporter of Operation Tramline, which aims to make our major road networks safe for everyone to use.

“It is always disappointing to catch drivers breaking the law, however with a high number of motorists observed throughout the operation, these figures show it’s a small minority who continue to commit these types of offences.

“Our main priority is to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads by clamping down on the fatal four offences, which are speeding, drink/drug driving, seatbelt and mobile phone use.

"Working with our partners on such operations enables us to take a strong and robust approach to identify road traffic offences.”

The number of incidents during the Highways England initiative fell from 90 collisions during the previous week to 64 during the week of action, with 200 offences recorded by six police forces.

The scheme, which took place between May 13 and 19, also recorded the fourth-lowest number of collisions of 2019 and second-lowest outside school holidays.

Highways England head of road safety Richard Leonard said: “We’ve been really impressed with the results of our week of action on the M1 which shows how making little changes to the way you drive can make a big difference to safety on our motorways.

“Our HGV supercabs helped the police identify almost 200 dangerous drivers who could have caused collisions if they hadn’t been pulled over, and our safety tips at motorway services and in the media also helped to make the M1 safer for everyone.

“As part of our current motorway driving campaign, we’re encouraging drivers to remember the basics of motorway driving to help keep us all moving so that the number of accidents continue to fall in the weeks and months ahead.”

The HGV supercabs, which are funded by Highways England, allow police officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles, and drivers are then pulled over by police cars following a short distance behind.

They have de-restricted speed limiters which mean they can travel at speeds up to the national speed limit, and flashing lights have been installed for use by police forces in an emergency.

Road Haulage Association’s head of licensing and infrastructure policy, Tom Cotton, said: “A minority of drivers think it’s okay to endanger other road users by taking unnecessary risks behind the wheel – it’s not. No phone call or text is so urgent that it can’t wait until the driver is safely parked.

“We’re pleased to see police and Highways England working together on initiatives to improve road safety.”

Highways England’s traffic officers also joined forces with the emergency services to provide free tyre checks and safety tips to hundreds of drivers at motorway services along the M1.

Similar safety initiatives are now being planned for other motorways across England following the success of the M1 week of action.

More details on the campaign are available on Highways England's website.