A total of 250 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs), including 168 for not wearing a seat belt, and one arrest has been made after police targeted drivers of heavy goods vehicles as part of an operation which coincided with a nationwide seat belt enforcement campaign.
Operation Wyken saw police provided with an HGV tractor unit from Orwell Trucks, in Martlesham, which allowed officers to carry out patrols on the A14, A11 and A47, and focus on offences committed by lorry drivers.
This took place last week, between Monday and Friday, July 6 and 10, and ran in conjunction with the National Police Chiefs’ Council two-week seat belt campaign (from June 29 to July 12).
The cab, which was driven by a police officer, provides an ideal vantage point meaning officers can look into cabs of other lorry drivers or looking down at cars or vans. A team of roads policing officers accompanied them to stop any offenders.
During the operation, the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team (RAPT) and the Road Casualty Reduction Team (RCRT) arrested one man on suspicion of drug-driving and issued TORs to 250 drivers, with some of the recipients committing more than one offence.
The total number of offences detected was 280 and are as follows:
– one for drug-driving;
– 168 for not wearing a seat belt;
– 19 for using a mobile phone;
– 18 for not being in proper control of the vehicle;
– 13 for excess speed;
– seven for careless driving offences;
– six dangerous condition offences;
– six registration offences;
– 18 exceeding driver hours; or carriage of dangerous goods offences;
– 24 other miscellaneous construction and use offences.
Acting Chief Inspector Gary Miller, of the Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “This was an extremely successful week of action, during which a staggering number of offences were detected. This highlights why it is so important for us to carry-out operations such as this and I would like to thank all the officers involved for their hard work.
“We are once again grateful to Orwell Trucks for supporting this road safety campaign, which we have run for several years now and will continue to do so. Due to the physical height of commercial vehicles, it is often difficult for patrol officers to view into the cab and thereby detect offences, such as not wearing a seatbelt or using a mobile phone.
“The HGV cab provides officers with an ideal vantage point to spot drivers committing offences and provides us with another means to enforce the law with this specific group of road users, who due to the size of the vehicles they are in control of, pose an added risk to other motorists and also themselves if they are committing offences whilst driving.
“The most common offence detected during this operation is not wearing a seat belt, which is one of the ‘fatal four’ main causes of fatal and serious injury collisions. It is compulsory for drivers to wear them and they should ensure their passengers buckle-up too.”
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, said: “I spent an hour or two with the roads policing unit on a previous Operation Wyken and was amazed at what you see when you’re at eye level with another HGVs – it really does give officers an excellent view and an opportunity to see offences they might otherwise miss if driving a car. I can’t believe that professional drivers can risk their lives, their livelihood and the lives of others, looking at their phones and not wearing seatbelts.
“I fully support the Constabulary’s campaign to crack down on irresponsible drivers who still refuse to buckle up whilst driving, but it amazes me that drivers should need to be reminded about something so obvious. Everyone knows you are more likely to die in a crash if you don’t wear a seat belt, so I just can’t understand why anyone would flout this law – for 168 drivers to be caught without a seat belt is absolutely staggering.”
He added: “Many thanks to Orwell Trucks for once again supplying the vehicle, their support is greatly appreciated.”
Seat belts should be worn in any vehicle they are provided in, including buses and goods vehicles. Anyone caught not wearing a seatbelt may be issued with a TOR and face a fine, points on their licence or even court action.
Pictured above is the Operation Wyken team with A/Ch Insp Gary Miller, PCC Tim Passmore and Ben Sheldrake from Orwell Trucks in the centre of the front row.