Hundreds of drivers caught in police crackdown

Updated: 
A car driver holds a cheeseburger as he drives in traffic eating lunch, an activity many say is a dangerous distraction
Tony Pitts / Alamy

More than 200 drivers have been stopped by Hampshire and Thames Valley police during a five-day crackdown on a variety of motoring offences.

A total of 197 drivers were eventually prosecuted, after officers spent nearly a week monitoring traffic on the busiest main roads in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire, as part of operation 'Tramline'.

Amongst those stopped were a large proportion of distracted motorists. One was spotted eating spaghetti, while another decided to start cutting up fruit rather than keep their hands on the wheel. Unbelievably, one driver was caught catching up on a bit of light reading during their journey.

A further 109 were prosecuted for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving, suggesting that the relatively harsh penalty of a £100 fine and three penalty points isn't enough of a deterrent for drivers to change their behaviour.

Sgt Paul Diamond, from Hampshire Constabulary's Commercial Vehicle Unit, told The Mirror: "Operation Tramline enabled us to detect offences we would otherwise be unable to prosecute.

"In particular, drivers that were texting or accessing smart phones held below the window line of the car.

"We were very disappointed to see so many people accessing their smart phones in the morning whilst they drive.

"These are often very professional people and it isn't satisfying for us to be giving them points.

"However, it is these same people whose distracted driving is causing collisions and injuries, and we have a duty to make them stop."

Operation Tramline involved the use of an unmarked police HGV, which gave officers a better vantage point from which to observe the behaviour of car drivers. A camera operator in the passenger seat recorded any offences committed.

During the operation, which took place on major routes such as the M3, A34 and M27, along with the M4 and M40, seven drivers were stopped for speeding and one for drink driving. Three vehicles were seized for not having any insurance and two HGVs were halted after their drivers were deemed to be unsafe after driving for too long in a single stint.