Motorists To Be Filmed From Lorry Cab

Motorists who text, phone or drive dangerously face the prospect of being caught by police using an unmarked lorry, it has emerged.

Drivers could have police officers catching their offending on video camera from an undercover lorry cab looking over them, it has been reported.

The HGV is expected to be deployed on major motorways and A-roads nationwide from this spring to root out dangerous and unsafe driving, the Daily Mail said.

It follows a three-month trial which ran last year in five police force areas - Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey, Thames Valley and Warwickshire.

Under the pilot scheme, codenamed Operation Tramline, 462 offences were detected, mostly for mobile phone and seat belt abuses.

The Operation Tramline team was made up of a HGV unit, including a police driver and an officer with a video camera, Surrey Police, which led the operation, has said.

They were supported by two police motorcyclists and a marked police car which stopped and dealt with drivers through enforcement and education.

Police said the HGV provided an "ideal viewing platform'' for officers to observe drivers' actions from a high vantage point.

The aim was to combat offending on the roads, including drink and drug driving, use of mobile phones and speeding and seatbelt offences.

Now it has emerged that a scheme based on the pilot is to be rolled out nationwide from March 30, in partnership with the Highways Agency.

A Highways Agency spokesman said: `"Safety is a top priority for the Highways Agency and that's why we're working with the police to tackle poor driving behaviour.

"Doing what we can to reduce incidents on our network not only improves safety, it reduces congestion and provides more reliable journeys for the four million drivers that use England's motorways and trunk roads each day.''

During the three-month pilot period, the Highways Agency funded the hire of the HGV from MAN Trucks.

Motorists caught during the trial included a driver who was using FaceTime while driving in slow-moving traffic, police said.

An HGV driver who was pulled over said he had not worn a seatbelt for 20 years, while another lorry driver was seen drinking from a beer can.

In addition, a Lithuanian lorry driver's excuse for being on the phone was because he said he thought it was illegal to stop on the hard shoulder.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, told the Mail: "Police will literally be looking down on drivers to check they are concentrating on the road and not being distracted by the latest message on their phone.

"Motorways are our safest roads but given the speeds involved and the mix of traffic, when things go wrong the results can be serious.

"Rooting out bad and anti-social behaviour is important. Now motorists tempted to break the law are likely to have traffic officers peering right over their shoulders.''

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