Police have caught a motorist shaving whilst driving on one of Hampshire’s busiest roads.
A five day operation across the motorways of Hampshire and the Thames Valley has resulted in 198 motorists being prosecuted for driving offences, most of them driving whilst distracted.
This is the third Operation Tramline, run for a second year by officers from the two forces’ Joint Operations Unit, and links in with similar initiatives run around the country.
Throughout Operation Tramline, one HGV-qualified police officer drove an unmarked Scania lorry cab whilst an observer recorded any offences committed – with the cab providing the officers the great advantage of a high viewing platform.
The operation ran from Monday to Friday last week, focussing on the M27, M3, A34, M4 and M40.
In total 198 individual vehicles were identified committing offences, with some vehicles evidencing a number of offences bringing the total to 227.
Behaviour by motorists spotted by the Tramline team included:
· A car driver having a shave whilst driving.
· A lorry driver brushing his teeth, water bottle in one hand and razor in the other.
· A woman doing her make-up in the rear view mirror as she drove on the motorway.
· Two van drivers reading newspapers whilst they drove.
· One person reading a map on the steering wheel.
· Two drivers using iPads (one on the steering wheel whilst they drove.
· One driver using a laptop.
· One van driver seen accessing Facebook on her mobile phone whilst driving on the M27.
· 126 motorists were using their mobile phones.
· 25 were people distracted by other means.
· A total of 25 lorry drivers were evidenced using their phones with another six being distracted by other means.
Other vehicles stopped because the driver was using a mobile phone included:
· 2 agricultural tractors.
· 1 taxi.
· 38 light goods vehicles (vans).
· 1 recovery truck.
All drivers were issued with notices that will result in a £100 fine and three points on their licence. Some will be able to negate the points if they elect to attend a driver awareness course.
Sergeant Paul Dimond, who co-ordinated Op Tramline, said: ‘Distracted driving is proven to be a significant factor in many of the collisions on our roads.
‘Although the focus of the operation was on distraction offences we acted on any offences seen by the lorry as well as any seen by the marked patrol cars in support.
‘Many of the people stopped agreed with the police action and were very embarrassed having been caught on their phones. The vast majority were holding phones in their lap and accessing applications or texting with their hands held low – this can be very dangerous.
‘The use of the high viewing platform was especially important for looking down into the vehicles. It is also the only police vehicle capable of effectively highlighting distraction offences by other lorry drivers.
‘Motorways are statistically the safest roads to travel on. The vast majority of the motorists observed during the week were driving safely in compliance with the law.
‘These offences are being committed by otherwise law abiding and hardworking people. Unfortunately it is that same group of people that are being hurt as a result of the accidents. Through cracking down on this sort of offence, we aim to make our roads safer for all motorists.’
On top of the distraction operation, officers highlighted and dealt with the following general offences during the week long patrol:
· Eight people not wearing a seatbelt.
· Ten for careless driving or inconsiderate driving offences.
· Eight speeding offences.
· Six vehicles with no MOT.
· Three vehicles with no insurance.
· Five fail to stop at a red traffic light.
· One registration plate not conforming to the regulations.
· 15 excessive drivers’ hours offences.
· Three driving without insurance.
· Six vehicles driving on a verge or other unauthorised part of the motorway.
· One tyre defect.
· Three lighting defects.
· Two driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
· Three vehicles were prohibited.