Only a fifth of commercial vehicles stopped by police deemed safe in Thames Valley week of action

Officers from Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary Joint Operations Unit stopped over 150 vehicles during a week of action to improve the safety of commercial vehicles using our roads.
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The week of action, co-ordinated by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), ran from July 18 to 22 and saw officers working with partners from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the office of the Traffic Commissioner, stopping vehicles on the A34 between Winchester and Bicester.

Officers stopped 151 vehicles during the week. Thirty of the vehicles were deemed safe, while officers found at least one fault with the remaining vehicles. In total, 358 offences were identified.

Twenty-three vehicles were found to be unsafe due to poor load securing, and 48 mechanical faults were identified, such as issues with tyres, brakes and lights. Seventeen vehicles were deemed unsafe due to insufficient views in their mirrors.

The Roads Policing Unit stopped over 150 vehicles during a week-long operationThe Roads Policing Unit stopped over 150 vehicles during a week-long operation
The Roads Policing Unit stopped over 150 vehicles during a week-long operation

Other offences identified included HGVs travelling where prohibited and use of red diesel as road fuel.

Four HGV drivers and one coach driver were found to have manipulated their tachograph records in order to drive beyond the prescribed limits. They were reported for summons and referred to the DVSA and the Traffic Commissioner for follow-up action with their employers.

Sergeant Paul Diamond, from the Commercial Vehicle Unit, said: “Examining commercial vehicles is business as usual for roads policing, but weeks of co-ordinated action give us an opportunity to target specific offenders, obtain data on wider patterns of risk and to police whole roads instead of just the junctions on our area.

“During this operation, we were able to target vehicles which we believed were likely to be driven unlawfully.

"Once stopped, we examined the vehicles and counted all the infringements, which are reflected in the statistics.

"We then spoke with each of the drivers about the risks they were posing to themselves and other road users by not maintaining, or driving, their vehicles in a lawful way.

"We issued a number of tickets and the vehicles were prohibited until the issues were corrected.

"These types of vehicles are driven regularly and often for long periods and across long distances. It is important they are maintained and driven safely to protect all those using the roads.

“On the whole, those using commercial vehicles are compliant and aware of their responsibilities but operations like this allow us to target those who do not meet the standards required.

“Effective roads policing is about having the skills and tactics to manage all risks brought by all the different types of vehicles on the road.

"We have a strong capability in specialist roads policing and, by working with partners, we are able to proactively remove dangers that would otherwise be unseen.”