“Operation Tramline” is a HGV Road Safety Project that initially ran for a three month trial period. The success of the project has been huge and the success has seen Highways England extend the project even further.
Operation Tramline was an initiative that saw Highways England hire a HGV tractor unit and partner up with police forces in the South East of England. They used the unit as a tool for monitoring motorway driver safety and it helped the police to identify and record dangerous commercial vehicle driver behaviour.
It gave the police better insight and allowed them to justifiably stop drivers who could then be warned or prosecuted for dangerous driving. The pilot was just three months long. It became clear in this period that the elevated position within the HGV tractor meant the police could observe the behaviours of the HGV drivers much more clearly and they could also get a better view of the behaviour of car drivers and other smaller vehicles.
A whole range of hazardous and dangerous driving behaviour was captured including the use of a mobile phone, even using FaceTime at the wheel, seatbelt offences, reading the newspaper, brushing teeth and watching DVDs, all whilst driving.
During this pilot in the South East over 450 offences were detected and so a HGV tractor unit has been leased for a further two years by the police and it will now be made available to all police forces in England to support a new national safety operation.
The project began on 30th March 2015 and the HGV tractor will be touring the country on a monthly basis, visiting regional police forces until April 2017. The main aim of extending the programme and making it a nationwide operation is to deter and discourage professional drivers from their bad and dangerous behaviours.
Figures involved in the project so far, from April until December 2015 make for impressive reading as 1,483 vehicles have been stopped by 23 police forces in this time and 2,048 offences have been detected. These figures are just the beginning and there is hope that through word spreading around the HGV community that they could be caught out for their negative behaviours, more drivers will start focusing on complying with all safety legislation.
HGV drivers are often the subject of concern for road safety organisations and the government because of the sheer size and weight of their vehicles real devastation can be caused if they aren’t focused entirely on the road or aren’t driving safely.