An HGV driver was caught holding two mobile phones – one to each ear – as he drove along the M4 in his 44-tonne vehicle.

The incident was one of more than 100 offences Avon and Somerset police spotted last week on motorways and described as “appalling, unacceptable and dangerous”.

It was captured on camera by officers as they patrolled in an HGV cab on loan from Highways England.

The police also spotted a 3.5-tonne vehicle illegally towing a trailer in lane three of the M5 at excessive speed and another motorist holding a mobile phone and controlling their steering with just their little finger.

Other offences included not wearing a seatbelt; speeding; not in proper control of a vehicle and driving carelessly and inconsiderately.

As a result, four drivers have been summonsed to court and 72 traffic offence reports were issued.

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The operation was carried out as the National Police Chief’s Council launched a three-week campaign highlighting 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.

Chief Inspector Jason Shears, roads policing lead, said: “Driving whilst 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.

“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.”