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Unmarked HGV supercabs to catch dangerous drivers on M1

Three unmarked HGV supercabs are to be deployed for a week of action on the M1 from today (13 May), having already caught thousands of dangerous drivers in their first year.

More than 3,500 offences were recorded by the Highways England cabs in their first year

Deployed in February 2018 on the back of a successful pilot, the HGVs allow police officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by travelling alongside vehicles. Drivers are then pulled over by police cars following a short distance behind.

The supercabs have a derestricted speed limiter which means they can travel at speeds up to the national speed limit, and are fitted with flashing lights for use by police forces in an emergency.

In their first year, the cabs have been used by 29 police forces in a safety initiative known as Operation Tramline that has seen them record more than 3,500 offences;  this includes an M40 lorry driver using both his hands to hold a credit card and mobile (see footage here).

Other footage captured using the cabs in their first year included a van driver who was spotted with no hands on the wheel as he used one hand to change gear and the other to hold his mobile phone. The incident happened as he travelled along the A38 near Derby, even though he pulled into a service station to stop just a few seconds later.

The driver of a pick-up truck was also filmed without his hands on the wheel as he travelled along the M60 near Eccles in Greater Manchester. Footage shows the driver with both hands on his phone as he writes a text message.

All three cabs are now being used for a week of action on the M1 to improve safety on England’s most used motorway.

Highways England’s traffic officers will also be joining forces with the emergency services from today to provide free tyre checks and safety tips to drivers at motorway services by the M1.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.