New HGV Supercabs Target Dangerous Drivers in UK
How HGV Supercabs catch reckless motorists, success stories and the penalties for using a hand-held mobile
Supercab special features
HGV Supercabs that give police a bird’s eye view of reckless, dangerous, driving look set to patrol the nation’s roads in increasing numbers, Highways England revealed. The three unmarked trucks incorporate a camera, flashing blue lights, and – unlike normal cabs – can travel at the same speed as cars on major routes.
The modus operandi is for the truck to pull alongside a suspect vehicle on a motorway or dual carriageway. If it is a car, van, or smaller truck the officer in the passenger seat looks down into its cabin to check for selfish, foolhardy, behaviour that risks the lives of innocent motorists. Using a hand-held mobile, for example.
If, in contrast, the suspect is in a heavy goods vehicle of comparable height the police officer sits parallel so still sees into its cab. The same cannot be said for officers in shorter, standard, patrol cars. Any illegal behaviour is recorded via a camera as evidence. The following patrol car then intercepts the offender.
Supercab success rates
In April 2015, the first Supercab started patrolling the streets and more than four-thousand motorists fell foul in the next two years. Two-thirds were penalised for using a mobile even though – Highways England said - such behaviour contributes to two deaths per-month. One man steered with his knees, ate and used his mobile.
The Head of Road Safety, Richard Leonard, explained: “Highways England has been funding a single cab for the past couple of years. We’ve been impressed with the impact it’s had on improving safety.”
“We’ve found the vast majority of drivers are sensible behind the wheel - but a few have got into bad habits or are simply ignoring the law and putting themselves, and others, at risk”, he suggested.
“We’ve therefore decided to fund two extra, unmarked, cabs to continue to target dangerous driving on England’s motorways and major A roads to improve safety for everyone”, Mr Leonard revealed.
Penalties for using hand-held phone while driving
Highways England further confirmed that the penalty for using a hand-held mobile doubled in 2017. It is now six driving licence penalty points plus a two-hundred pound fine. Six penalty points equates to an automatic ban for offenders that passed the practical test within the last two years. The mobile phone rules apply while:
- Stopped at traffic lights
- Queuing in traffic
- Supervising a learner driver
However, it is legal to use a hand-held mobile while driving to call the emergency services if it is unsafe or impractical to stop.