The supercabs, operated by government agency National Highways, have caught thousands of motorists committing offences since their introduction, including a van driver in North Yorkshire filmed making a rude gesture to police while driving without a seatbelt and using a mobile phone.
The footage was taken on the A1(M) near Wetherby with the driver unaware there were two police officers inside the supercab when he made the gesture after realising he was being filmed. He was ultimately issued with a fixed penalty notice and handed six penalty points along a £200 fine.
The case was among a number highlighted ahead of today’s campaign launch. More than 26,000 offences have been recorded nationally through use of the unmarked vehicles since they were introduced in 2015.
Others caught on film include a lorry driver in the East Midlands steering with his knees while eating lunch on his lap and using his phone and a driver in West Mercia eating lasagne with a knife and fork while driving along a motorway. Surrey Police spotted an HGV driver boiling a kettle on the dashboard and another eating pickled gherkins from a jar with his elbows on the steering wheel.
The latest campaign, running to 1 April, will focus on the A1 from Northumberland down to North Yorkshire.
In addition to the supercab patrols, vehicle checks will be carried out at a number of locations by the DVSA and Health and Safety Executive.
Superintendent Emma Aldred, Head of Specialist Operations at North Yorkshire Police, said: “We are pleased to join Northumbria Police and Durham Constabulary in working with National Highways to create a really robust team, in order to target those who break the law on our road network.
“This operation has shown remarkable results previously and we know this time will be no different. Officers will be covering the stretch of the A1 24/7 and will not let up in their efforts to target those who have no regards for others on our roads.”
Since its launch in 2015 and January this year, 23,971 vehicles have been stopped across England during the safety initiative, called Operation Tramline.
The most common offences included 7,727 for not using a seatbelt, 6,804 for using a mobile phone, 1,927 for not in proper control of vehicle and 1,378 for speeding.