Shropshire Star

550 dangerous drivers caught by HGV cab - with video

More than 550 drivers have been caught breaking the law behind the wheel by a single unmarked HGV cab in the region.

A trucker checks his phone while his right foot is on the dashboard

The lorry, owned by Highways England, has been used by West Mercia Police, West Midlands Police and Staffordshire Police over the past two years.

Among the drivers caught are lorry drivers using mobile phones while driving and writing notes.

In the region, 308 were stopped for using mobile phones at the wheel, 242 for not wearing seatbelts, 31 were not in proper control of a vehicle and three for speeding.

Officers gave verbal advice to 63 drivers, issued three fixed or graduated penalty notices, and filed 474 traffic offence reports – usually requiring attendance at a driver education course.

There was also one prosecution for a more serious offence.

It comes as footage released by Highways England shows a trucker checking his phone while his right foot was on the dashboard. The driver, stopped by Humberside Police, was travelling from the M18 onto the M62 near Goole.

Richard Leonard, Highways England’s head of road safety, said: “The HGV cab, which is funded by Highways England, has been patrolling motorways and major A roads over the past couple of years with the aim of improving road safety.

“We’ve found that the vast majority of drivers are sensible behind the wheel but a few have got into bad habits, or are simply ignoring the law and putting themselves and others at risk.

“It’s shocking that around two thirds of the drivers that were stopped were using their phones when the statistics show that mobile phone use contributes to two deaths every month on the roads.

“The footage of the driver with his foot up on the dashboard is particularly alarming, and I dread to think what would have happened if he had needed to brake suddenly.

"We will continue to use the cab to tackle deaths and serious injuries and to encourage people to improve how they drive.”

The offenders were among more than 4,000 dangerous drivers on England’s roads caught by the unmarked HGV cab.

One driver pulled over by Devon and Cornwall Police was found to have sent 10 replies to 10 texts within one hour; a driver in Surrey was seen trying to put toothpaste on a toothbrush; and a driver in the East Midlands was spotted steering with his knees while he ate his lunch and used his mobile phone.

Latest statistics show that mobile phone use is a factor in an average of two deaths on the roads every month, with 124 people losing their lives over the past five years and 521 suffering a serious injury.

Earlier this year, the government doubled the penalty for drivers caught using their phones at the wheel.

Motorists now receive six points on their licence and a £200 fine – up from the previous three points and £100 fine.