November 23 2014 Latest news:
By Marijke Cox, Reporter
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Offences included using a hand-held mobile phone, not wearing a seatbelt and reading a map placed on the steering wheel
The deadly combination of tiredness and distraction is often to blame for serious traffic accidents.
Add to that a multi-tonne heavy goods vehicle and it’s even more likely to be fatal.
But in the past, monitoring lorry drivers has proved difficult, with HGV cabs being so high off the ground police were unable to see inside.
Last year, however, saw the force using an unmarked lorry to allow officers to see what drivers were up to behind the wheel.
And more than 180 found themselves on the wrong side of the law with offences including using hand-held mobile phones and eating while driving.
In the latest operation of its kind, police took to the road for three days, patrolling the M20 in an unmarked lorry.
A total of 45 offences were dealt with – with fines totalling £2,700 –including using mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt and one where the offender was reading a map placed on the steering wheel.
Roads policing unit inspector Paul Sellwood said even in last week’s wet and treacherous conditions drivers continued to use their mobile phones.
“We have an awful lot of lorries that move through our county from the ports which means we have more risk of collisions involving HGVs and the consequences are often fatal,” he said.
“Car drivers are more aware of getting caught if they are using their mobile or not paying attention. Some lorry drivers think they can get away with it because police can’t see them so high up.
“This operation sends out the message that we are clamping down on HGVs too. Most drivers are very responsible and professional, but even with the small minority the consequences are so high.”
Inspector Sellwood added: “All drivers should be warned that we constantly police the roads.
“Vehicles are dangerous weapons, especially when drivers are distracted. We will run this operation again but we also stop drivers every day for these types of offences.
“It’s about creating the fear of detection.”
Kent Police worked with a local lorry company which loaned the force a vehicle.
Officers looked into drivers’ cabs and filmed alleged offences while alerting patrol vehicles to pull over the offenders.