MORE than 350 offences were identified during a week-long crackdown to improve road safety along a busy A-road. 

Officers from Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police Joint Operations Unit carried out a week of action to improve the safety of commercial vehicles.

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, only 30 were deemed safe, while officers found at least one fault with the remaining vehicles. In total, 358 offences were identified.

Of those stopped 23 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.

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Meanwhile, 17 vehicles were deemed unsafe due to insufficient views in their mirrors.

Other offences included heavy goods vehicles travelling in prohibited areas 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.

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“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 everyone on the roads.”

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