​Police Watching From Lorry To Catch People Using Mobile Phones

Judging by some of the terrible drivers out on the streets, there are many people who struggle with the basic concept of driving... Some of them don't even know where their indicators are, which is weird, while others always seem to forget the speed limit. So odd.

What's even more baffling, then, is when people decide to make things even harder for themselves by whipping their phone out as an added distraction - despite the fact it's a definite no-no.

Now police officers are cracking down on drivers using mobile phones while behind the wheel, with Wales Online reporting that Welsh officers have been using handheld video cameras in HGV tractor units to catch those breaking the law.

Dubbed Operation Tramline, the scheme was used by South Wales Police back in April, as a means of catching people using their phones while travelling along the M4 corridor.

During the week-long operation, a total of 120 vehicles were stopped. Eighty-four traffic offences were reported, while 23 prohibition notices, 15 fixed penalty notices and 14 cautions were also issued - along with £2,760 in fines.

Inspector Steve Davies - who is from South Wales Police's specialist operations department and Operation Tramline coordinator - said in April: "The 'supercab' will patrol the motorway and main trunk roads across Wales, and has been fitted with wide-angle cameras to capture unsafe driving behaviour.

"They also have an unrestricted speed limiter, which means they 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.

"We find that the vast majority of drivers are sensible behind the wheel but some are putting themselves and others at risk, therefore Operation Tramline will be a welcome addition to our officers' daily work improving road safety across Wales."

South Wales Police have said they'll be running the operation again over the next two months in the lead-up to Christmas.

Elsewhere in the country, other forces are using similar methods to crack down on dangerous driving.

Birmingham Live reports that West Midlands Police also launched their Operation Top Deck earlier this month, which involves trying to catch motorists by using video cameras from the top of a double decker bus.

On the first day, officers apparently prosecuted a woman for driving without due care and attention because they spotted her eating from a bowl of cereal - proving it's not just phone use you need to be careful with.

PC Mark Hodson said: "Using mobile phones while driving is proven to be as dangerous as drink driving; it can devastate lives and people need to understand this isn't acceptable.

"We want to create a credible, constant threat of prosecution to induce wholesale driver behavioural change and make our roads safer.

"The buses are 'borrowed' from National Express and will look like any other bus in service - but they will be driven by Safer Travel officers who are qualified bus drivers and the passengers will be police officers or PSCOs equipped with video cameras.

"Buses give us a perfect vantage point into cars and also the cabs of lorries and trucks.

"Offenders will be given a roadside educational input on the dangers of distracted driving and also face the prospect of a hefty fine plus six points on their licence.

"We will look at particular circumstances but there will also be some drivers, ones who've been particularly reckless, who we will charge and take to court."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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