The Staggering Things Seen from a Secret Police Lorry.
A team of officers from Sussex Police and Surrey Police took to the road in an unmarked HGV and were shocked by what they found, as motorists broke the law in a variety of bizarre ways.
The police lorry was loaned to the forces by Highways England to give officers a better view inside cars from above.
Applying makeup on the motorway, watching videos behind the wheel and a dashboard that resembled a badly-kept office were among the reasons rule breakers were stopped in both counties on the A3, M3, A23, M25 and A27.
More than 300 different offences were committed by 285 drivers over nine days, in plain sight of shocked officers. They included not being in proper control of a vehicle, driving on the hard shoulder, driving without due care and attention, and seatbelt offences.
Careless motorists were handed 23 Fixed Penalty Notices, 155 Traffic Offence Reports and 104 ‘words of advice’.
Out of the 86 offences for not being in proper control of a vehicle, the majority involved drivers interacting with maps on mobile phones.
Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, head of the joint Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “Using unmarked vehicles including the Highways England HGV cab allows us to catch those putting not only their own lives at risk but also those around them.”
Sussex and Surrey Police’s Roads Policing Unit plans on carrying out similar operations more regularly, as six members in their ranks have recently obtained their HGV driving licence.
Sergeant Kellie-Anne Harris, of the newly formed Commercial Vehicle Unit, said: “The higher vantage point the HGV cab gives us is incredibly useful when it comes to looking down at what drivers are up to in their vehicles which might otherwise be obscured at ground level.
“Along with 65 uses of a mobile phone, 43 seatbelt offences and 25-speed offences, we saw some truly staggering things like someone using their elbows to steer, a man watching music videos and a woman doing her makeup in lane four of the M25.”
Chief Inspector Hodder added: “Drivers shouldn’t become complacent or take risks purely because they can’t see a marked police car on our roads or they think we can’t see what’s happening inside their vehicle.”
Source: RAC News