POLICE are focussing on goods vehicles and coaches throughout November, looking at drivers hours and carriage of dangerous goods (HAZMAT) offences. Operation Fatigue is aimed at reducing road casualties and collisions by enforcement of road traffic legis

POLICE are focussing on goods vehicles and coaches throughout November, looking at drivers' hours and carriage of dangerous goods (HAZMAT) offences.

Operation Fatigue is aimed at reducing road casualties and collisions by enforcement of road traffic legislation to address offences committed by drivers and operators of large goods vehicles (LGVs) and passenger carrying vehicles (PCVs.)

Specifically, it will target drivers' hours offences, tachograph falsification and hazardous materials offences.

Department for Transport research shows that LGVs account for around three per cent of traffic flow in Devon, yet nine per cent of fatal collisions in the research period involved an LGV.

Two thirds of those involved were found to be at fault in the collisions. This trend is echoed in serious injury collisions, where LGVs accounted for six per cent of such collisions on motorways and 11 per cent on trunk roads.

On serious motorway collisions involving LGVs, the vehicle blamed was without exception the LGV.

There are strict regulations in force to limit the time drivers can spend behind the wheel and the amount of rest that they must take.

But police say because the haulage industry is subject to tight margins and is a very competitive environment, the temptation to breach these regulations to increase profits is great.

The carriage of hazardous materials is a profitable business, but requires drivers specially trained and vehicles are appropriately equipped, all of which introduces additional costs.

The practice of employed unskilled drivers without correct equipment reduces costs, but has grave implications for public safety.

Recent legislation has introduced a streamlined way of dealing with these offences, which can be dealt with at the roadside with fixed penalties of up to £200 for each offence. Offending drivers and vehicles can also be issued with a prohibition, preventing them from driving further.

Operation Fatigue aims to increase the level of enforcement on roads with the intention of contributing to casualty reduction and show that offenders using will be robustly dealt with.

It also hopes to alter the perception of drivers and operators who believe they can offend with impunity.

Ten officers will be dedicated to the operation. All have been trained in tachograph examination and carriage of hazardous materials. The operation will be led by a Roads Policing Sergeant. The operation has been planned with a multi-agency approach to include the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA), the National Plant and Equipment Register (TER) amongst other agencies.