Lorry drivers targeted in undercover police operation

Police went undercover to target HGV drivers who are committing traffic offences.
Police went undercover to target HGV drivers who are committing traffic offences.

A police operation targeted heavy goods vehicles across the main arterial routes in Cleveland and County Durham.

Officers from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU) took part in a national operation led by Highways England, called Operation Tramline, to detect offences carried out by the drivers of large goods vehicles by patrolling in an unmarked tractor unit.

Inspector Jon Curtis.

Inspector Jon Curtis.

Travelling in the tractor unit makes it easier for the officers to see into the cab of a large goods vehicle by being at the same level and therefore they can see any offences clearly.

The vehicle patrolled over three-and-a-half days last week.

Thirty-five offences were uncovered and 23 fixed penalties were issued to drivers of heavy goods vehicles and coach drivers for not wearing seatbelts, six drivers were found to be distracted by using their mobile phones while driving and five were found not to be in proper control of their vehicle – for example weaving across lanes.

The vehicles were also checked for defects on their tyres, brakes and steering.

A car was also seized for having no insurance.

Inspector Jon Curtis, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “Operation Tramline is a great example of partnership working with Highways England across our strategic road networks.

“The vast majority of the offences that were detected were in relation to drivers not wearing their seatbelts. It is disappointing to see people not taking their safety and the safety of other road users seriously, despite our repeated reminders that seatbelts save lives. We have also seen a number of drivers who were distracted at the wheel and using their mobile phones whilst driving. With the introduction of new penalties for mobile phone offences, this puts drivers at risk of losing their licence and, as professional drivers, this could also put their livelihoods at risk. These results show that operations like this must continue, in order to help make our roads as safe as possible for those using them.”