Police target distracted truckers

Posted on December 5th, 2011 by James Luckhurst

RESULTS FROM a recent European police safety operation aimed at trucks, their drivers and their cargoes, show a raft of dangerous offences detected. Instances of speeding, drink driving, overloading, illegal people trafficking – and many other offences – led to nearly 2,500 trucks being removed from the road.

Many offences can be classed within the general field of ‘distractions’; drivers who choose to pay less than 100% attention to the task of driving, and who instead combine it with watching the television, talking on the telephone, catching up with emails, reading the newspaper or even cooking a meal.

Clearly, such behaviour is reckless in the extreme, but until now it has been tricky to spot, because it’s not the sort of thing that can be captured via automatic enforcement. However, traffic police officers in Kent have recently completed a crackdown on distracted truck drivers using their motorways, with the help of what they have referred to as a ‘covert tractor unit’. This is the front part, or ‘cab’, of an articulated lorry, made available to them by a local haulier. Two police officers travel in the cab, one driving and the other specifically looking for truck drivers who may be distracted. A video camera is used to record any in-cab distractions.

Inspector Paul Sellwood of Kent Police was very pleased with the success of the operation. “Working with the officers in the covert cab were a team of normal uniformed patrol officers. On receiving the instruction from the cab, they would move in to escort an offending driver to a suitable place where they would take the appropriate action. During two weeks, we detected 181 offences and issued £11,000 in roadside fines,” he said.

You can watch the Kent Police video all about this operation below: