Week of action on M1 sees police take to 'HGV supercabs' to catch dangerous drivers- and collisions cut 'by almost a third'

A week of action to improve safety on the M1 helped to reduce collisions by almost a third, say Highways England.

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 2:19 pm
PC Dave Lee and PC Rob Monk from Northamptonshire Police's Safer Roads Team with one of the HGV supercabs. Picture courtesy of Northamptonshire Police.

200 dangerous drivers were stopped by police and hundreds given safety tips at motorway services up and down the region as part of M1 safety week, which ran from Monday, May 13 to Sunday, May 19.

The initiative saw the number of incidents fall from 90 collisions during the previous week to 64, and recorded the fourth lowest number of collisions of 2019 and second lowest outside school holidays.

All three of Highways England’s unmarked HGV supercabs took to the M1 to capture dangerous driving, with nearly 200 vehicles being pulled over by police officers during the week.

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Highways England’s traffic officers joined forces with the emergency services to provide free tyre checks and safety tips to hundreds of drivers at motorway services along the M1.

New footage was released showing a lorry driver using a credit card to make a payment on his mobile phone to raise awareness of the dangers of using mobiles at the wheel.

Similar safety initiatives are now being planned for other motorways across England following success on the M1.

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Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, said: "We’ve been really impressed with the results of our week of action on the M1, which shows how making little changes to the way you drive can make a big difference to safety on our motorways.

"Our HGV supercabs helped the police identify almost 200 dangerous drivers who could have caused collisions if they hadn’t been pulled over, and our safety tips at motorway services and in the media also helped to make the M1 safer for everyone.

"As part of our current motorway driving campaign, we’re encouraging drivers to remember the basics of motorway driving to help keep us all moving so that the number of accidents continue to fall in the weeks and months ahead."

The HGV supercabs, which are funded by Highways England, allow police officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles, and drivers are then pulled over by police cars following a short distance behind.

They have de-restricted speed limiters which mean they can travel at speeds up to the national speed limit, and flashing lights have been installed for use by police forces in an emergency.

The supercabs were used by six police forces during the M1 week of action to record nearly 200 offences. They included 57 drivers on mobile phones, 37 not wearing seatbelts and 26 who were driving carelessly or not in proper control of their vehicles.

Police officers filed 133 traffic offence reports – usually requiring drivers to attend a driver education course – and there were also five prosecutions for more serious offences.