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Lorry driver caught using TWO mobile phones on M4

POLICE spotted a motorist holding two mobile phones – one to each ear – as he drove along the M4 motorway in a 44 tonne articulated lorry last week.

They also saw a vehicle weighing 3.5 tonnes illegally towing a trailer in lane three of the M5 motorway at excessive speed.

Meanwhile another motorist was caught holding a mobile phone, with their right little finger touching the bottom of the steering wheel and their other hand nowhere near the wheel, on the M4.

These were just some of the offences captured on camera by Avon and Somerset Police during Op Tramline last week. Using a large goods vehicle (LGV) tractor cab on loan from Highways England, roads policing officers were able to gain an elevated view of behaviour inside lorries, vans and cars.

Officers checked 409 drivers on roads across Avon and Somerset including the M5, M4 and A303. Of these, a quarter (104) were found to be committing driving offences including: 51 not wearing a seatbelt, 11 illegally using a mobile phone while driving, seven speeding, six not in proper control of their vehicle five driving without due care and attention and two driving carelessly and inconsiderately

With one roads policing officer driving and a second officer sitting alongside, offences were captured on video.  The offending vehicle was then reported to a supporting policing unit which intercepted, indicated for it to pull over and dealt with offences.

A spokesperson said: “Avon and Somerset Police will continue Op Tramline across the year, in support of their everyday work to keep the roads across the region safer.”

“The week’s activities were carried out as the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) launched a three-week campaign to highlight the dangers of driver distractions –  including mobile devices such as phones, ‘sat navs’ and tablets – and to crack down on offenders.

“Driver distractions is one of the ‘Fatal Five’ main causes of serious injuries and death on the roads, alongside driving under the influence of drink or drugs, excess or inappropriate speeds, the failure to wear seatbelts and careless or inconsiderate driving.”

 The most recent RAC Report on Motoring 2020 (based on research undertaken in July and August last year) found that a growing number of motorists (29%)  admitted to making or receiving calls on a handheld mobile phone (up from 24% in 2019), while almost one-in-five drivers aged 17-24 admit to taking part in video calls while behind the wheel.

Chief Inspector Jason Shears, Roads Policing Lead for Avon and Somerset Police, said: “Driving while distracted is every bit as unacceptable as drink driving and just as likely to be fatal. Research has shown that drivers using a phone –  handheld or hands free – are four times more likely to be involved in a collision and their driving is also impaired to a degree similar to that of a drink driver.

“Distraction driving is a top concern for motorists and we are committed to tackling it.  Fortunately, we have the majority of the public behind us, many of whom are submitting footage of offences to us via our website.  This means that anyone could be capturing evidence of offending that could be used to prosecute a phone-using or otherwise distracted driver, so the chances of being caught are now much higher.

“Safety on the roads of Avon and Somerset is our road policing unit’s absolute priority and we will not hesitate to use every option open to us, including the deployment of a range of unmarked vehicles, to tackle dangerous and anti-social driving habits.”

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