South Yorkshire is one of eight regions across England where police are running a week of action to crack down on unsafe driving on the M1.

Operation Freeway takes advantage of each of these eight forces’ access to an unmarked HGV tractor unit, which allows officers to see into higher vehicles and get a better view into lower ones.

Roads Policing Officers from the Operational Support Unit of South Yorkshire Police (SYP) launched the operation on March 3, and is due to run for five-days.

Roads Policing Acting Sergeant Rod McEnery said: “We are out there 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will continue to do everything we can to prosecute those who pose a risk, educate drivers and create safer roads.”

“Everyone can take simple steps to reduce risk to other drivers; put your phone away, put your seatbelt on, don’t speed and ensure you’re following the laws surrounding your vehicle’s use.”

In the last operation of this kind, Roads Policing Officers of SYP witnessed 244 offences.

During a short drive on the morning of 3 March, officers found one driver on their mobile phone, one driver not in proper control of their vehicle and one driver without a seatbelt on.

The unmarked HGV’s have been provided by National Highways, the company responsible for operating England’s motorways and major A roads, who are working with police force’s on this operation.

National Highways Head of Road Safety, Jeremy Phillips, said: “We are committed to reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured while travelling on our roads by 50% by 2025 and we have a long term ambition for zero harm.

The point of the week of action aims to encourage road users to practice safer driving.

Mr Phillips added: “Those who continue to pose a risk should be aware that we are working with our police partners to make sure they are spotted and prevented from causing serious harm to themselves or others.”

According to National Highways, in 2022 there were 73,593 incidents on the M1, the motorway this operation is targeting.

National Highways have published photos and videos of road users committing offences, including a video of a woman using a mobile phone whilst driving, and a video of a man driving a loaded car transporter with just his elbows, below.

Driver caught driving huge car transporter with just his elbow, from National Highways.

Acting Sergeant McEnery added: “I urge drivers to think about how they would feel if they killed someone, as ultimately this is what can happen without your full attention being on the road.”

Police want drivers to voluntarily change their behaviour and drive more safely; wearing seatbelts, not using their mobile phones, and staying in control of their cars. But they are prepared to take action against those who break the law.

Consequences for drivers range from warnings to fixed penalty notices, court summons or arrest.