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Unmarked lorry aims to improve driving standards

Police are using an unmarked lorry to try and improve driving standards on the county's main roads.

Two officers have been trained to drive the cab section of an HGV to crack down on truckers and car drivers who use a mobile phone behind the wheel and refuse to wear seatbelts.

The height of the unmarked lorry means officers have ideal vantage points looking into other trucks, cars and vans.

While one officer drives the grey Mercedes Actros, the other keeps watch from the passenger seat and uses a radio to pass information to other nearby officers patrolling on bike or by car who can stop the offending drivers.

The officers also deal with general policing matters and help with major operations as well as keeping watch for suspicious activity near bridges during their patrols on the A12.

The lorry has been owned by Essex Police for many years and is normally used to haul a large trailer which has been converted into a mobile control centre for use at major incidents or events.

Adam Pipe, Essex Police’s casualty reduction manager, said: “It is being used for road safety and general policing patrols and is especially useful for keeping an eye on lorry drivers and motorists who are not driving safely or are breaking the law by using phones and other devices or not wearing seat belts.

“It has been a real eye-opener to see the results of the HGV patrols because police in cars or motorbikes cannot see in the lofty cabs of lorries.

“We are extremely concerned at the way drivers are being distracted at the wheel, especially with the massive increase in the use of smart phone and iPads. There have also been reports of some lorry drivers watching TV or films while driving.

“We are determined that through patrols with the HGV we can reduce the dangers of commercial drivers taking liberties and putting innocent lives at risk.”

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