Express & Star

More than 170 drivers caught out by M6 police in lorry cabs

More than 170 unsuspecting drivers were caught out by police hiding in unmarked lorry cabs on the M6 in the West Midlands as part of a road safety operation.

Police were disguised in HGV cabs.

Disguised officers patrolled the length of the M6 in the HGV 'supercabs', giving them an elevated position allowing them to snoop on motorists below.

A total of 174 drivers were stopped in the West Midlands, including 34 using mobile phones and 59 for seatbelt offences.

Almost 600 motorists were stopped along the length of the motorway. one playing online poker - potentially gambling with his life - and another FaceTiming his partner.

Failing to wear a seatbelt was the most common offence, with 138 people seen risking their lives without the safety protection.

In the West Midlands, the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) pulled over a car near Junction 10 for Walsall which had false plates, no documents and the driver only had a provisional licence. He was reported to the courts for traffic offences and the vehicle was seized.

Another stopped between junctions 13 and 14 in Staffordshire had a blacked-out windscreen only allowing 12 per cent of light through and no front number plate.

Officers used 230 HGVs and 199 private vehicles for the operation, which ran during the last week of May.

Eight arrests were made but most offences were dealt with by way of words of advice or fixed penalty notice.

The unmarked Operation Tramline HGV cabs are funded by Highways England and used by police forces across the country.

Highways England's head of road safety, Jeremy Phillips, said: “Our aim through this week of action was to make not only the M6 but all of our roads safer by raising awareness and encouraging motorists to consider their driving behaviour.

“The HGV cabs helped the police to identify almost 600 dangerous drivers who could have caused collisions and harm if they hadn’t been pulled over. Our safety advice given at motorway services and through the campaign also helped to make the M6 safer.

“We are confident that, working together with our road safety partners, this campaign has helped spread our safety messages to drivers but also raised awareness that those who engage in high risk behaviours can expect to be spotted and, if an offence has been committed, action will be taken by our enforcement partners.”

Sergeant Rob Powell, of CPMG, said: “This operation enabled us to stop irresponsible drivers in their tracks and remind them what is expected of them on our roads before carrying out enforcement.

“By responding to identified issues in real time, we were able to actively prevent possible serious road traffic collisions and keep other road users safe.

“We hope the operation has helped educate drivers of their responsibilities on the roads and remind them of the importance of wearing seatbelts, not using mobile devices and ultimately, staying alert behind the wheel.”

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