Highways England’s Unmarked ‘Supercabs’ to patrol motorways
A NEW HGV ‘supercab’ is taking to Midlands roads as part of a unique initiative to tackle dangerous driving on England’s motorways and major A roads.
Highways England has announced plans to fund three new unmarked HGV cabs, including one based in the Midlands, after a single one used by police forces across the country was used to help catch over 4,000 dangerous drivers in its first two years.
The new cab will patrol motorways and main trunk roads and has been fitted with wide-angle cameras to capture unsafe driving behaviour. It also has a derestricted speed limiter which means it can travel at speeds up to the national speed limit, and flashing lights have been installed for use by police forces in an emergency.
The cabs allow police officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles. Drivers are then pulled over by police cars following behind.
The launch comes a year after the government doubled the penalty for drivers caught using their phones at the wheel. Motorists now receive 6 points on their licence and a £200 fine – up from the previous 3 points and £100 fine.
Richard Leonard, Highways England’s Head of Road Safety, said: “This is all about improving safety on Midlands roads. Highways England has been funding a single cab for the past couple of years and we’ve been impressed with the impact it’s had. Over 4,000 dangerous drivers have been pulled over, with police action ranging from verbal warnings to prosecutions.
“We’ve found that the vast majority of drivers are sensible behind the wheel but a few have got into bad habits, or are simply ignoring the law and putting themselves and others at risk.
“We’ve therefore decided to fund two extra unmarked HGV cabs, including one based with police forces in the Midlands, to continue to target dangerous driving on England’s motorways and major A roads, improving safety for everyone.”
In total, 28 police forces across England have taken part in the HGV cab safety initiative since it began in April 2015, pulling over 4,176 drivers in relation to 5,039 offences in its first two years.
In the West Midlands, 576 drivers were pulled over in relation to 634 offences.
More than 300 of the drivers who were stopped in the West Midlands were illegally using a mobile phone while driving, despite the latest statistics showing that mobile phone use is a factor in an average of two deaths on the roads every month.
More details about the law on mobile phone use are available at www.gov.uk/using-mobile-phones-when-driving-the-law.