A lorry driver on the M20 was pulled over and fined £100 by Kent Police after he was seen with a laptop balanced on his dashboard.
The driver was one of 44 motorists stopped and fined, given points or educational advice in a special roads policing operation on Kent’s strategic road network.
From Friday 7 to Thursday 13 January 2022, officers patrolled the M20, M2, A2 and M25 in police cars, motorbikes and an unmarked Large Goods Vehicle (LGV).
The lorry provided to the force by National Highways allows officers to see into cars and larger vehicles. Motorists caught committing driving offences were filmed and then stopped by marked police cars.
Across the week the drivers of nine LGVs, nine Heavy Goods Vehicles and 26 other motorists were stopped for various offences including using a mobile phone, not wearing a seatbelt, speeding, not being in proper control of the vehicle, not having insurance, carrying insecure loads, and driving whilst under the influence of drink and drugs.
These actions resulted in 31 Traffic Offence Reports being issued, ten fixed penalty notices and two court summons.
In addition, one man was arrested after an officer on a police motorbike smelt cannabis coming from a car travelling towards Junction 7 of the M20 on Monday 10 January. The rider stopped the motorist and he was detained on suspicion of driving whilst unfit through drugs.
On Thursday 13 January a motorist was stopped and arrested on suspicion of drug driving at Junction 8 of the M20. On the same day another driver was stopped at Junction 5 of the M20, also on suspicion of drug driving. Following a search of the vehicle a knife was also seized.
All those arrested have since been released from custody pending further investigation.
Chief Inspector Craig West said: ‘This operation has revealed that despite the rules, which have been in place for many years now, a minority of motorists are still prepared to break the law.‘ A momentary lapse in concentration, such as talking on the phone, texting, or looking at a device such as a laptop in the vehicle, can have disastrous and life-changing consequences.‘
Use of the unmarked lorry helps us see directly inside the driver’s cab, something we can’t do with our normal marked and unmarked police vehicles.‘Offences that we identify carry a fine and points on your licence, so ask yourself if it is really worth it. I strongly urge those caught in this operation and others who have used such devices while driving to learn from their mistakes and drive safely in future. We won’t hesitate to take action against those placing others in danger.’
National Highways Regional Safety Programme Manager in the South East Colin Evans, said: ‘We know the majority of people drive safely and sensibly but unfortunately a minority of motorists flout the law and put themselves and others at risk. ‘Working closely with our police partners and through the use of the supercabs we want to encourage all drivers – whatever vehicle they are in – to think twice about their behaviour behind the wheel and make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.’