Video: Police use unmarked lorry to snare mobile phone-using driver

A NEW initiative aimed to crackdown on mobile phone use while driving saw police using a lorry to catch a culprit using his mobile while at the wheel. Highways England provided South Yorkshire Police with an unmarked HGV tractor unit, which allowed officers to see inside vehicles of a greater height, including HGVs. SYP are the first force in the north of England to use the vehicle, which meant officers could film live any unsafe driver behaviour.

During the week beginning February 15 alone, 41 drivers were found to be driving without wearing a seat belt, 19 drivers were found to be using their mobile phone while driving, six were speeding and ten were found to not be in proper control of their vehicle. The video below shows officers pulling alongside a lorry on the southbound M1 near the Rotherham A631 turn-off recently and a catching the driver of the vehicle using two mobiles phones and not wearing a seat belt. A police spokeswoman said officers had stopped the vehicle over and the driver had been reported on summons to appear before court. 

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Roads policing officer Sgt Bruce Yacomeni said: “I am extremely pleased that South Yorkshire Police are the first force in the country to make use of this unmarked HGV, provided fully funded through partnership working with Highways England.

“We have an extensive motorway network running through South Yorkshire and work hard to ensure the safety of all users. “This initiative has allowed us to enhance and increase our detection rates of those drivers using their mobile phone behind the wheel, or committing other #Fatal4 offences; drink and drug driving, speeding and not wearing a seat belt.” In addition to the drivers listed above, 22 drivers were dealt with for licensing and document offences, including no insurance or MOT.

Four people were also arrested for separate offences, three on suspicion of shoplifting and one on suspicion of money laundering. SYP said over 2,000 people had been killed or seriously injured as a result of a driver being impaired or distracted on England’s motorways and major A-roads over the past five years. Highways England regional road safety co-ordinator for Yorkshire and North East, Sarah Watson-Quirk, said: “The vast majority of people drive responsibly and we hope this operation will encourage all road users to drive safely.

“We have several lorry cabs at Highways England that provide the police with an valuable tool to carry out their job enforcing the law.

Unfortunately around 450 people are killed or seriously injured every year on England’s motorways and major A roads as a result of a driver being impaired or distracted.

“Those who break the law by using mobile phones or distracted in other ways are putting lives at risk.”