Police have launched Operation Orbital. Credit: National Highways

Unmarked HGV ‘supercabs’ are out on the M25 catching drivers committing mobile phone, seatbelt, and other safety offences.

National Highways has teamed up with the seven police forces that cover the motorway to crackdown on motorists putting themselves and others at risk.

The supercabs, which are funded by National Highways, allow police officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles, and drivers are then pulled over by police cars following a short distance behind.

The cabs have derestricted speed limiters, which means they can travel at speeds up to the national speed limit, and have flashing lights for use in an emergency.

Travelling along the M4 earlier this year an HGV driver was recorded holding two mobile phones, one to each ear.

But what he didn’t realise was the vehicle travelling alongside was an unmarked National Highways supercab – and there were two police officers inside. It’s one of thousands of offences captured using this method.

An HGV driver pictured with a mobile phone in each hand while travelling on the M4. Credit: National Highways

The latest crackdown on the M25, which began on November 15, is called Operation Orbital, which will also see enforcement agencies carry out checks on vans and lorries for road worthiness, secure loads, weight, and drivers’ hours to reduce the risk of incidents along the route.

Colin Evans, regional road safety coordinator for National Highways in the south east, said: “Over 7,500 vehicles travel round the M25 every hour, ranging from commuters getting to work to haulage firms delivering goods along the route or overseas.

“The vast majority of drivers obey the law but a few are risking potentially devastating consequences by not carrying out appropriate checks before setting off or by driving dangerously.

“The two weeks of action will see enforcement agencies carrying out checks along the M25 to help improve safety for everyone.”

According to National Highways, formerly known as Highways England, there were 97 fatal and serious injury crashes on the M25 in 2019.