Just under 200 drivers were caught committing various offences as part of a five day road safety enforcement campaign by the Joint Operations Unit of Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police.
Between Monday 6th June 2016 and Friday 10th June 2016 the unit pro-actively looked for those committing offences on the motorways across the two counties. This mainly focused on those being distracted at the wheel.
This involved three police vehicles patrolling the motorways during the day and pro-actively evidencing poor driving behaviours.
In total 187 people were found committing offences. The operation was carried out on M27, M3, A34, M40, M4, M275 and M271.
It was in response to information received from motorists, both commuting and professional, who were concerned at the amount of distraction seen from drivers on these busy roads.
Called Operation Tramline this is the eighth crackdown of its kind in Hampshire. Most of the drivers committing offences were using mobile phones whilst driving. This was often to access emails, texts or social media and is one of the fatal five offences that cause most harm on the roads.
An unmarked observation vehicle is used, often a lorry with several intercept cars accompanying it to deal with the offences once recorded.
Last weeks operation identified 187 drivers committing various offences from momentary lapses in concentration to deliberately reckless driving.
The offences included:
- 147 drivers using mobiles phones. Most of these were texting or looking at screens instead of at the road ahead. Twenty of these were driving heavy goods vehicles. The rest were in cars and vans. Offenders were of all ages, from all walks of life and split fairly evenly between men and women.
- Eighteen drivers were not in proper control for other reasons – including one that was reading a novel as he drove on the M271!
- Six were not wearing a seatbelt and eight were committing the offence of careless driving.
- Other offences included speeding, no MOT, no tax, no insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
- One person was observed and dealt with for committing an ‘indecent act’ as they drove at speed in a BMW on the M40!
Sergeant Paul Diamond from the Roads Policing Commercial Vehicle Unit said: “We run these operations regularly because we see collisions everyday of the week caused by drivers not concentrating on the road ahead.
“Most of the offenders are not horrible criminals, they are often kind and decent people but they just don’t realise the consequences of their actions not just to the victims but on their own lives and to the security of their jobs and family.
“We want to keep these people out of court just as much as we want to prevent casualties.
It’s a life changing event for everyone involved in a fatal crash and if the driver was accessing a phone at the time then they are very likely to go to prison, even if they have never been in trouble previously.
“Peoples lives change forever on a split second decision and that text just isn’t worth the risk.
“The irony is that most of the people we stop agree with what we are doing, so why do they do it?”
“The standard penalty for using a mobile phone whilst driving is a £100 fine and 3 points on the licence.
“We hope operations like this will help save lives and make people think twice about what they are doing while driving and concentrate on the road ahead.”