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Police Use Cameras In HGVs To Catch Offenders

By raccars Published

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A new police offensive will see unmarked HGVs used to catch drivers using mobile phones at the wheel and committing other offences. The police believe that the extra height of the HGV cab will help them identify offenders much more easily.

Patrols are due to start on major A roads and motorways this spring. The HGVs will contain a police driver and another officer using a video camera, to record offenders in the act. The HGV team will work with a nearby support unit of two police motorbikes and a marked car. These will be directed by the HGV team to cars where drivers have been caught on the telephone, texting, speeding, driving without care, tailgating, lane hogging or failing to wear a seatbelt. The motorbike or marked car support team will stop vehicles, as directed by the HGV team, and hand out advice, education courses or, where necessary, fixed penalty notices and court summons. Foreign registered vehicles will be given fixed penalty notices.

A three month trial of the HGV patrol scheme took place last year between February and April. The scheme was headed by the Highways Agency and took in Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Warwickshire and Thames Valley. 462 offences were identified in 436 vehicles during the trial, including one driver caught brushing his teeth while behind the wheel, one driver who was reading a newspaper and another drinking beer from a can. Almost one hundred and eighty mobile phone offences were identified, 126 seatbelt transgressions, 68 cases of a failure to be in proper control of a vehicle, 18 of driving without due care and attention, 17 speeding offences, 15 vehicle defects and 8 occasions of drivers stopping on the hard shoulder inappropriately, among other offences.

From 30 March this year, the scheme will go nationwide, aimed at the four million drivers using Britain's most strategic roads and motorways daily. Police hope the HGVs will be more effective at identifying on the move offenders, who are difficult to spot using conventional static cameras.

An HGV cab is to be hired from MAN Trucks by the Highways Agency, which is to be shared between England's 45 police forces, to be able to view traffic offenders from above. The RAC Foundation's Professor Stephen Glaister believes the HGV surveillance will be an important tool to help the police root out anti-social driving behaviour, and will make motorists think twice about breaking the law.

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