Last reviewed 14 September 2021

A multi-agency fortnight of action is taking place along the M4 and M5 with a National Highways heavy goods vehicle (HGV) being used to check for illegal activity as the initiative aims to reduce the number of incidents on the motorways and to highlight the risks of dangerous driving.

Two police officers travelling in the HGV have already filmed a lorry driver using two mobile phones at the same time - (see here). This is just one of over 21,000 offences recorded by officers in the Operation Tramline HGV cabs since the national safety initiative was launched by National Highways (formerly Highways England).

Gloucestershire Police used the HGV in May and found 44 people driving without a seat belt, 19 driving while using a mobile phone at the wheel, eight speeding offences and eight other misdemeanours, including two insecure loads and one of driving with no insurance.

Under the banner of Operation Peninsula, the latest initiative will be operating until Sunday 26 September along the M4 between junctions 14 and 18, and the M5 from junction 8 to junction 31.

National Highways said that it was hoped that police officers would not see a repeat of some of the more bizarre offences recorded over the last few years including:

  • a driver steering a lorry with his knees while eating lunch on his lap and using a phone

  • a driver eating lasagne with a knife and fork while driving along a motorway

  • a driver boiling a kettle on the dashboard.

Nicholas Reed, National Highways’ Road Safety Lead for the South West, said: “The HGV cabs are an important part of our commitment to tackling unsafe driving and those who take unnecessary risks with their own safety and that of others on the road.”

He reminded drivers that they are four times more likely to be in a crash if they use their phone and, if caught, face a £200 fine and six points on their licence.