Episode 1 A1: Britain's Longest Road


Episode 1

Documentary series centred on the A1. Police are called to a major pile-up which threatens to close the road, and traffic examiners clamp down on dangerously overloaded vehicles.


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Transcript


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The A1 -

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Britain's longest road.

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Stretching almost 400 miles from the City of London

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to the heart of the Scottish capital.

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Connecting two nations and passing through 18 counties.

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It's an unrivalled highway

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used by hundreds of thousands of vehicles every day.

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We're going southbound down the A1 on the northbound carriageway.

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But not all journeys go to plan.

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I thought, am I going to lose my life?

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Cars are coming close.

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It is the dangerous place to be.

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Lives can hang in the balance.

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The rear end of that vehicle, it's unrecognisable.

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This is actually the bodywork of the car.

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24 hours a day...

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It's not a safe place here.

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..there's a team of people who keep us safe from harm.

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The police...

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..response teams...

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We don't know whether we've got the road closed, we don't know what's happening.

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..and traffic officers.

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Keep going.

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Keeping Britain's most iconic road...

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-Get out...

-..on the move.

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Substantially damaged flatbed truck in lane two.

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The A1, the monster that it is, it'll start to return to normal.

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Coming up -

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a pile-up on the carriageway...

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Lanes one and two are blocked, so effectively the A1 North is shut.

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..puts lives at risk.

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Substantially damaged flatbed truck in lane two.

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Highway overload...

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This is very dangerous. That could burst at any time.

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..as officers clamp down on illegal vehicles.

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As it stands, we cannot permit this vehicle to proceed on its journey.

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And fires on the Tyne push police officers to the limit.

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There's a lot of explosives within a car.

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Really, really dangerous.

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With hundreds of thousands of vehicles using the A1 every day,

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keeping the only continuous road between Edinburgh and London moving

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is a 24-hour operation.

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And over in Sprotbrough, near Doncaster,

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an early shift is just about to start.

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It's just before 7am and traffic officers Paul Day and Rob Larkin

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are heading out onto the A1.

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-RADIO BEEPS

-Echo 13...

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Within minutes, there's a report of a crash near Pontefract,

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11 miles north of their base.

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Multiple vehicle RTC.

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Possible injuries.

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Vehicles are still in situ across the road.

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Lanes one and two are blocked.

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Yeah, lanes one and two are blocked, so effectively the A1 North is shut.

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Priority at first attendance is, we make the scene safe,

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we then check for people's injuries,

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organise ambulances, etc, if needed

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and then we deal with the trapped traffic

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and anything else that's going on around us.

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But the priority is to make the scene safe

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and then open at least one lane as quickly as possible.

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The crash involves a truck,

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so there's a chance the victims could be seriously injured.

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And with traffic still speeding past,

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all the other motorists on the A1 are also in danger.

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Looking at this traffic,

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and just not seeing us behind trying to make us way.

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Every second that passes,

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the jam is getting longer

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and this increases the risk of another pile-up.

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-Right, so we just stop everybody here, get us a gap?

-Yeah.

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Right.

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13, we've just stopped the traffic.

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The traffic officers are the first on the scene.

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They've no idea how badly injured the drivers are.

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13, substantially damaged flatbed truck in lane two.

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Bear with us, we'll see if we can move that,

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once we find out if there's injuries, over. Is anybody injured?

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I'm fine, I wasn't involved, but these guys...

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Are you all right?

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I think it's just from the air bag, it's nothing serious.

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-Need an ambulance?

-No.

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Right, is that your truck?

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-Yeah.

-Will it drive at all?

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I'll come back to you, bear with.

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These drivers have had an incredibly lucky escape.

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-Anybody in this?

-Yeah.

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Yours? Any injuries?

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Just my back is a little bit...

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-Do you need an ambulance?

-No.

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The next priority is to clear the scene

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and to get the A1 moving again.

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What we've got at the minute, is we've got traffic stopped

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and you saw what it did in nine minutes.

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Because we've got it fully stopped now,

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it's not even making any progress at all.

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So the importance is, get it safe, get it open as quickly as possible,

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allow people past...

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..which will not take long now.

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But what Paul and Rob don't realise yet,

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is that the stricken vehicle in lane two is a hybrid electric car,

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which could still be live.

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This incident is about to get a lot more challenging.

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One of the most southerly sections of the A1 is where it intersects

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the M25 in Hertfordshire.

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Tens of thousands of vehicles travel on this stretch every single day.

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But some simply aren't fit to be on the road.

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In Hatfield, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency officer

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John Windebank is on patrol and on the lookout

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for unroadworthy vehicles causing danger to other road users.

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Could be a vehicle that looks like it's heavy or in poor condition.

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And it's not long before he spots a truck that could pose a serious risk

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to other motorists.

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It looks like a 3.5 tonne scaffold vehicle in lane two.

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It could well be overweight, it all depends.

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Overloading of vehicles is quite a common occurrence with us,

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it's probably something that we come across every day.

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If you are in that vehicle and you had to brake suddenly,

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you are not going to stop so you will just plough into the person

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in front of you. I mean, it's possible this vehicle may be OK,

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but looking at it, it may well not be.

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It's John's job to escort the vehicle into a weighbridge

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at the side of the A1, where a team of his colleagues are waiting

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-to take a closer look.

-What I need you to do first,

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can you just reverse up and get the back wheels on the plate for us,

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-please?

-Dangerously overloading a vehicle is a serious offence.

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Last year, more than 70 people faced prosecution for this crime.

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Right, if you stay there while I collect the weights...

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While traffic examiner John Blide weighs the vehicle...

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..his colleague Prem Kumar has concerns about the state of the truck.

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What happened to the windscreen?

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It was my first day, that was.

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Put the radio on the dashboard and it did a little kick.

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How long has it been like that?

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-A week.

-A week?

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Got a bit of trim hanging off here as well.

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OK. Rear lamp cluster broken.

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-Do you know when it was last serviced?

-No.

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And Prem spots another reason why this vehicle is dangerously unroadworthy.

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Found a defective tyre,

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so defective that the side wall on the tyre has become damaged and it's

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caused a bulge to appear.

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That could burst at any time.

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This is very dangerous.

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As it stands,

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we cannot permit this vehicle to proceed on its journey

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in this condition, because there is an imminent danger

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of this exploding. All right?

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And that's not all, John has the results of the weigh-in.

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OK, guys, you are a 3,500 kilo truck coming in at 5,600 kilos.

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You are seriously overweight.

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Just over two tonnes overweight.

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It means the driver, or his boss, could be heading to court.

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I am going to say to you, you do not have to say anything.

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It may harm your defence if you fail to mention when questioned,

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something you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.

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The vehicle is unfit to go back on the road and will be immobilised.

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It concerns me that people don't know the danger they put themselves

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into, or other road users.

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If we weren't doing these checks,

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these vehicles would just be running around on the public highway.

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The last thing we want is people killed.

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And with many more vehicles still to check,

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the team is in for a very busy shift.

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The A1 passes through 15 different police forces,

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more than any other road in the UK.

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Police officers patrol night and day

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to keep traffic moving and motorists safe.

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In Northumbria, PC Alan Keenleyside has just received his latest call.

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Alan never knows what he will be faced with -

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from car fires, to criminal activity.

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What we've got now is we've got a pursuit.

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Alan is pursuing a driver who has failed to pull over

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when asked to stop by the police.

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He's ignored sirens and flashing blue lights.

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When a car fails to stop, you've got to think there's a reason for that.

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It could be a stolen car, it could be a disqualified driver.

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The driver could be under the influence of drink or drugs.

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So when you've got a vehicle

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that fails to stop it's inherently dangerous.

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The last report was going over this roundabout.

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By the time Alan arrives,

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the driver has been stopped by an unmarked police car.

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He is now being questioned by police.

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Just make sure everything's all right, that's all I'm going to do.

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Alan gets an update from fellow traffic officer, PC Gary Morris,

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who had also joined in the pursuit.

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-Do you think he saw him?

-He was just hoping that if he just ignored him

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he'd give up and leave him alone.

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The driver in our car there is compliant.

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So we'll just hang back here, Mick's dealing with him.

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It's pointless going down there and aggravating a situation that doesn't

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need to be aggravated.

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Police discover the driver hasn't got any insurance

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and doesn't even have a driving licence.

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He's not passed a test, so he's not shown he's actually got the ability

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to drive a car safely. If he's on a provisional licence,

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he's obviously got to be displaying L plates and got to be accompanied

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by a suitably qualified driver that is keeping him right on the road.

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And obviously to do that, he's got to be insured as well.

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If he was to have an accident with anybody, somebody else,

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who's perhaps going to suffer an injury or damage

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and they've got no recourse against the driver of this car.

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By not stopping when he was asked to,

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the driver made a dangerous situation worse

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and he's now going home without his car.

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So what's going to happen now, we've confirmed this vehicle

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has no insurance. The driver of the vehicle

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is a provisional licence holder, so the driver's been interviewed

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and will be reported to court for those offences.

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This vehicle will now be seized by us and when the driver

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is able to produce the relevant documents,

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he's got a licence and insurance for this vehicle,

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the vehicle will be returned to him.

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He's got to do that within seven working days.

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If that doesn't happen, the vehicle will be disposed of

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by means of crushing, or if it's over a certain value,

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it'll go to auction and be auctioned off.

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So a good little result and another vehicle off the road this morning.

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Back on the southern edge of the A1 in Hatfield,

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the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency team is still on the hunt

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for dangerous vehicles.

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Examiners have pulled up another van

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they suspect may be carrying an excessive load.

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This can be deadly, as stopping speeds are dramatically increased

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when vehicles are overweight.

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-Good morning.

-Good morning.

-How are you?

-Fine.

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What's the name of the company you're working for?

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-What's the name?

-Sorry.

-It's on the side of the van.

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Vehicle examiner Vicky Foster is keen to quiz the driver.

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OK, if you can just park for me,

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just in the lane next to this vehicle and then I'll be over to you

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in a second.

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As Vicky weighs the vehicle, driver Robert is worried about the outcome.

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I put some stuff in this morning that's going to a scrap yard, so,

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you know, a lot of it you can just take out and it will be underweight.

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But then, you know,

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the penalty is you can't do the job you're expected to do.

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But it's not good news for Robert.

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3.5 tonne light goods vehicle and it's come in over 4.5 tonne.

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Unfortunately, you are 33.71% overweight and because of the amount

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of the overweight, it's not a fixed penalty,

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-it will be referred to court.

-OK.

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So I will be conducting an interview with you under caution.

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-Yeah, whatever.

-OK?

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Robert will now have to remove all the excess weight in his van

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before he is allowed to drive any further.

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It affects stopping distances, it affects the braking,

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and the steering and handling of the vehicle.

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It puts the general public...

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..at risk.

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Back on the A1, John Windebank is on patrol.

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Part of the officer's job is to spot-check European lorries

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to ensure their paperwork is all in order.

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But now he's spotted a vehicle with markings he doesn't recognise.

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I believe its Spanish.

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It's quite a newish vehicle.

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He decides to pull it over for Vicky and the team to have a closer look.

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I'm just indicating to come off at the junction.

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He's indicating, so he's totally compliant.

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-Hello.

-Hola.

-Do you speak English?

-No.

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-Spanish, Spanish.

-When did you come into the UK?

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-Did you come ferry or train?

-Train, train.

-Train.

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-Do you have your ticket?

-Ticket?

-Ticket.

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I lose it, OK.

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Although the truck passes as roadworthy...

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..there are other concerns.

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The maximum a goods driver can work is 56 hours in a week,

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with regular breaks...

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..so Vicky wants to check his tachograph.

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I'm just looking at the driver's hours just to ensure they've had

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enough daily rests, enough weekly rests.

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The results don't look good.

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At the moment we've got some infringements regarding weekly rest.

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Driver has had two reduced weekly rests back-to-back

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and has driven for seven days.

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Driving when tired puts everyone at risk.

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This trucker will receive an on-the-spot fine and be banned

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from driving for 45 hours.

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-Problemo. Problemo.

-Problema?

-Yeah.

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OK.

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Penalty for you, £300.

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Prohibition. No driving, 45 hours.

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OK? Yeah.

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It's a very good result.

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The drivers are now going to be rested

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when they start driving again.

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They won't be a risk to road safety

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and are unlikely to cause any accidents on our roads.

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It's obviously a huge danger to the general public, road safety.

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If the driver is overtired, he hasn't had sufficient rest,

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could fall asleep at the wheel and crash into oncoming traffic.

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I certainly wouldn't want to be in the car in front of him

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or any of my family either.

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Pinpointing problems along this 400 mile-long road

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is a relentless daily task for the teams that patrol it.

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Now on a two-lane section of the A1 close to Newcastle

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PC Alan Keenleyside is on his way to a reported car fire.

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These calls are classified as Grade 1 emergencies.

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It means there's an immediate risk to life.

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Historically, with older cars, you used to get a lot of vehicle fires,

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but certainly of late, the way the cars are nowadays,

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vehicle fires are getting less and less.

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Alan's first impressions at the scene are reassuring.

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There's no smoke and his colleagues seem to have the situation under control.

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-Is everything all right?

-Yes.

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Good. We had a report that the car was smoking as well?

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Oh, the clutch.

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There's a real smell of burning coming from the car.

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You can see the clutch pedal's completely gone,

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so it looks like your clutch cable's snapped.

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It will be a recovery from here, all right?

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Agnes and her husband Robert have been to pick up their son's car.

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He'd left it at work last night to go for a drink.

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We picked it up for him as a favour

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and we were just taking it to his home.

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He's just sorry it was, you know, we were stuck with the problem.

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Agnes had only been driving it for a few minutes

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when it started losing power.

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Luckily, her husband was following behind.

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Just as I was driving along,

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the car was making a very loud noise when I changed gear.

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So I pulled in.

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One of the options is, your good lady and you could jump

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into your car, nip up to the shopping park here,

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grab a coffee or something,

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the RAC will give you a ring when they're a couple of minutes away

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and you can meet them back here with the key.

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Car fires used to be a common occurrence.

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These days, though, they're rare.

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Once upon a time, a car would catch fire reasonably easily, but now,

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because of the way vehicles are built...

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..the fuel cut-offs, the insulation,

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the fire suppression systems in vehicles,

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fires aren't as common as what they used to be.

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A lot of people mistake vehicle defects for vehicle fires.

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If the brakes are binding on a vehicle, if there's a collision,

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the air bags go off.

0:18:190:18:20

People say the vehicle's on fire.

0:18:200:18:22

Actually, it could just be a mechanical defect.

0:18:220:18:26

I think everybody, when they see smoke,

0:18:260:18:28

they revert to worst-case scenario and shout vehicle fire.

0:18:280:18:32

But I would never blame people for that, that's a human reaction.

0:18:320:18:36

But ultimately, you've got to have an open mind when you respond

0:18:360:18:38

to these incidents.

0:18:380:18:39

But not every case turns into a false alarm.

0:18:410:18:43

It's 3pm and just as Alan is heading back to the station,

0:18:450:18:49

he finds himself in the middle of a real emergency.

0:18:490:18:52

Are you all right if this flows?

0:18:540:18:56

Are you all right if I keep this lane flowing?

0:18:560:18:58

-Yeah, yeah.

-Are you happy with that?

0:18:580:19:01

The Fire Service were on the scene within minutes,

0:19:010:19:03

but Alan still doesn't know if anyone's been injured.

0:19:030:19:06

We've got complete closure,

0:19:080:19:10

northbound from Tealand Road at the minute.

0:19:100:19:12

Lane one southbound is passable.

0:19:120:19:16

Traffic is going to be very busy in this area now.

0:19:160:19:18

Just let the firm know, please.

0:19:180:19:20

Yes, yes, they are extinguishing the fire now.

0:19:220:19:25

They are in lane two southbound.

0:19:250:19:28

I don't actually know where the owners are around here.

0:19:280:19:31

It's a dangerous situation on a busy road.

0:19:310:19:34

The team need to extinguish this fire and find out what has happened

0:19:340:19:38

to the driver.

0:19:380:19:39

On the northbound stretch of the A1 near Pontefract,

0:19:420:19:45

Paul Day and Rob Larkin are still at the scene

0:19:450:19:49

of a multi-vehicle pile-up.

0:19:490:19:51

The road has been closed

0:19:510:19:52

and rush-hour traffic is now starting to build.

0:19:520:19:55

It's causing stop-start traffic further south,

0:19:550:19:58

which is a severe risk for other drivers.

0:19:580:20:01

Non-injury crash.

0:20:020:20:03

Lot of debris, lot of mess,

0:20:030:20:06

so what we're doing,

0:20:060:20:08

clearing up as best we can, make the scene safe,

0:20:080:20:11

allowing traffic to run past in lane two.

0:20:110:20:14

That should be a good 'un, then.

0:20:140:20:16

Luckily, the damaged truck is still driveable.

0:20:160:20:19

By moving it out of the second lane,

0:20:190:20:21

there's a good chance it can be reopened soon.

0:20:210:20:23

Just going out of lane one closure,

0:20:240:20:26

cos we've got the stricken vehicles in lane one.

0:20:260:20:30

Once we've got this in place,

0:20:300:20:32

we can let this traffic go past in lane two.

0:20:320:20:34

Just waiting for Paul to finish sweeping up this debris

0:20:340:20:38

and then we should be good to go.

0:20:380:20:41

The A1 has been completely closed for about ten minutes,

0:20:410:20:44

causing huge tailbacks.

0:20:440:20:47

But thanks to Rob and Paul's swift response,

0:20:470:20:49

one lane can now be reopened.

0:20:490:20:51

Rob has some bad news that will mean a big delay to reopening the other lane.

0:20:550:20:59

I've just discovered that one of the vehicles is a hybrid vehicle.

0:21:010:21:05

When they're hybrid, we won't recover them cos there's a chance

0:21:060:21:09

the bodywork could be live,

0:21:090:21:10

so we leave it to the recovery agents to do that.

0:21:100:21:13

While they wait for the recovery truck,

0:21:130:21:15

Paul offers the drivers some advice.

0:21:150:21:17

If you can give your details to each party, if you saw it, for a witness,

0:21:170:21:22

job will be a good 'un from us and you can go then.

0:21:220:21:25

-OK, cool.

-All right?

0:21:250:21:26

You two - have you exchanged details?

0:21:260:21:28

-No, not yet.

-If you can write name, address,

0:21:280:21:31

contact number down of the driver, or your company,

0:21:310:21:35

-but I need the driver's name and contact number, yeah?

-Yeah.

0:21:350:21:39

The situation is made all the more dangerous

0:21:390:21:41

because of the exact spot where the accident has happened.

0:21:410:21:44

Just being on the viaduct, there's no hard shoulder.

0:21:440:21:47

There's no hard shoulder, there's nowhere for them to go.

0:21:470:21:49

So we just have to cone out behind it, like we have done,

0:21:490:21:52

and get traffic flowing past it in lane two.

0:21:520:21:54

Yes, it does cause a minor problem,

0:21:540:21:56

but it's nothing that we can't deal with.

0:21:560:21:59

Meanwhile, the delays mean the tailbacks keep on growing.

0:21:590:22:03

We've been here probably 40, 50 minutes.

0:22:030:22:06

We initially stopped traffic, which creates its own issues and backlog.

0:22:090:22:13

We've had an update that the impact of the traffic is back

0:22:130:22:16

at least two junctions, which takes it down to Doncaster Road.

0:22:160:22:20

That then is probably six miles.

0:22:200:22:24

It is flowing past,

0:22:240:22:25

but we've got quite a considerable amount of traffic backlog.

0:22:250:22:29

Both lanes now, because people are looking.

0:22:300:22:32

20 minutes later though, the recovery truck arrives to pick up

0:22:350:22:38

the hybrid. By now, the tailbacks are nearly five miles long.

0:22:380:22:43

I'm sure you've already noticed, mate,

0:22:430:22:45

but it's a hybrid so we don't know whether it's live or not.

0:22:450:22:47

-We'll leave it to you.

-No worries.

0:22:470:22:49

I'm going to try it at first,

0:22:500:22:53

to see if it's live. If it's not live,

0:22:530:22:55

we'll just leave it dead and just pull it on with slips.

0:22:550:22:57

It should, hopefully have a shutdown on it,

0:22:570:22:59

which will disable all systems.

0:22:590:23:01

So we'll take it from here, get stuck in and go for it,

0:23:010:23:04

get this motorway flowing as quick as we can.

0:23:040:23:06

With the hybrid safe, it can at last be taken away.

0:23:090:23:12

And finally, Rob and Paul can open the second lane and traffic

0:23:130:23:17

can begin to get to normal.

0:23:170:23:18

It's always important to get a lane opened as soon as possible

0:23:200:23:24

and then to clear it as soon as possible.

0:23:240:23:26

It does back up daily, but with us having one lane shut here as well,

0:23:260:23:30

that would have impacted on it quite significantly.

0:23:300:23:33

If it hadn't have been a hybrid,

0:23:340:23:36

we may well have been able to drag it off network,

0:23:360:23:38

just round the bend is a bit of a hard standing.

0:23:380:23:41

But with it being a hybrid, we couldn't touch it.

0:23:430:23:45

Three counties north in Tyne & Wear,

0:23:540:23:56

traffic officer PC Alan Keenleyside

0:23:560:23:59

is still dealing with a serious car fire.

0:23:590:24:01

The blaze has been going for 15 minutes.

0:24:030:24:06

Thankfully, the driver of the car, Jennifer Mountain,

0:24:060:24:09

has been unharmed in the incident.

0:24:090:24:11

Are you all right, first and foremost?

0:24:110:24:13

-Yes.

-That's the important thing.

-OK.

0:24:130:24:14

That can be, well, I was going to say that can be fixed, it can't be.

0:24:140:24:17

But, it's insured.

0:24:170:24:19

What about recovery for this?

0:24:200:24:22

Do you want us to go ahead and get that organised for you?

0:24:220:24:25

-Yes.

-All right.

0:24:250:24:27

Thanks to improved safety systems and better engineering,

0:24:270:24:29

car fires on this scale are rare.

0:24:290:24:32

But when they do happen, they can have devastating consequences.

0:24:320:24:36

The A1 is literally just over that roundabout there.

0:24:390:24:42

So as we've been on the A1, seen the big billowing smoke,

0:24:420:24:45

we've come off the A1,

0:24:450:24:47

only come about 100 metres. Fire Brigade were already in attendance

0:24:470:24:50

and they've very quickly got this fire under control.

0:24:500:24:52

It's really, really dangerous around a car fire.

0:24:520:24:56

There's a lot of explosives within a car.

0:24:560:24:59

You're talking the bits that hold the bonnet up,

0:24:590:25:01

the air bag firing mechanisms and the like.

0:25:010:25:04

Really, really dangerous.

0:25:040:25:06

When the fire started,

0:25:070:25:09

Jennifer was going to pick up her son from school.

0:25:090:25:12

-You come up the hill...?

-Yeah,

0:25:130:25:15

they just stopped working so I put my hazards on

0:25:150:25:17

and then it set on fire, so I ran out.

0:25:170:25:19

All the best, we'll take care of your car and get it away.

0:25:190:25:23

As Jennifer heads off, Alan turns his attention

0:25:230:25:26

back to the clear up and the possible cause of the incident.

0:25:260:25:30

Right now, we need to get this lane reopened and get this traffic

0:25:300:25:34

flowing out of Newcastle as quickly as we possibly can.

0:25:340:25:36

The A1 is going to be affected as well,

0:25:360:25:38

so back to patrolling that

0:25:380:25:39

and making sure that's run as it needs to be.

0:25:390:25:42

Thankfully, the Tyne & Wear Fire Service got to the scene quickly

0:25:430:25:47

and managed to put out the flames,

0:25:470:25:48

but reopening the road won't be straightforward.

0:25:480:25:52

We are getting the car recovered, but even if the car's recovered,

0:25:520:25:55

we're not going to be in a position to open this road.

0:25:550:25:57

That's because all this metal has just melted in.

0:25:570:26:01

It's molten into the road surface.

0:26:010:26:03

This happens a lot at road traffic collisions where,

0:26:030:26:06

if you get a big collision,

0:26:060:26:07

we clear the accident but the road remains closed

0:26:070:26:10

because the local authorities sometimes have got

0:26:100:26:13

to dig the road up and re-lay it before it can be safely reopened.

0:26:130:26:17

That's still smoking, that.

0:26:170:26:18

It's still smouldering.

0:26:200:26:21

45 minutes later, a truck arrives to shift the burnt-out car

0:26:230:26:26

and council workmen can start clearing up the road.

0:26:260:26:29

Needs a new arrow.

0:26:300:26:31

You not got any white paint on you?

0:26:330:26:35

-Tippex?

-Tippex!

0:26:350:26:37

Much to the relief of the people trying to get home,

0:26:370:26:40

the road won't need completely resurfacing tonight,

0:26:400:26:43

meaning traffic can start flowing again.

0:26:430:26:46

We've had a look at it with the engineer and the road is ready to be

0:26:460:26:49

reopened, so, all this traffic backing up out of Newcastle

0:26:490:26:52

towards the A1, we can get that going again.

0:26:520:26:54

Right on rush hour now, 4:20pm on a Tuesday afternoon, so...

0:26:540:26:57

..let's go away and get these good people of Newcastle home.

0:26:570:27:02

With traffic moving once more, it's been an eventful end to the day.

0:27:040:27:08

But it could have been a whole lot worse.

0:27:080:27:10

That lady, thankfully, she didn't have the kids in the car with her.

0:27:120:27:15

There was just her as a driver, an adult driver.

0:27:150:27:18

She was able to get out straightaway and get herself safe.

0:27:180:27:21

She was on her way to pick the kids up from school,

0:27:210:27:23

so she has got a young family.

0:27:230:27:24

If that car had caught fire 10 or 15 minutes later,

0:27:240:27:28

it could have been two kids in the back-seat.

0:27:280:27:30

So you've got a car on fire, you've got to move the seats forward,

0:27:300:27:33

you've got to get people out the back-seat.

0:27:330:27:35

Horrendously difficult to do, so she's been lucky.

0:27:350:27:39

Further investigations revealed the car fire in Tyne & Wear

0:27:440:27:48

started after a major electrical fault.

0:27:480:27:51

The uninsured driver's car was later scrapped.

0:27:510:27:54

The motorist received eight points on his licence

0:27:540:27:56

and was fined more than £1,250, including costs.

0:27:560:28:01

And the driver of the overloaded truck was interviewed under caution

0:28:010:28:05

and is due before magistrates.

0:28:050:28:08

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