Police have released footage of an HGV driver holding two mobile phones, one to each ear, as he drove along the M5.

The footage was filmed by officers in an unmarked National Highways truck and has been released this week ahead of the latest operation to monitor lorry drivers on the M4 and M5 motorways.

The incident, which took place between junctions 18 and 17 of the M5 earlier this year, is one of over 21,000 offences recorded by officers using Operation Tramline HGVs since the initiative was launched by National Highways, formerly Highways England.

Other transgressions uncovered by police using the unmarked HGVs include an HGV driver steering with his knees while eating lunch on his lap and using a phone, a driver eating lasagne with a knife and fork while driving along a motorway, a lorry driver boiling a kettle on the dashboard and another eating pickled gherkins from a jar, with his elbows on the steering wheel.

The National Highways' latest campaign, which was launched this week and dubbed Operation Peninsula, will run from 13 September to 26 September. It will use unmarked HGVs to monitor lorry drivers and others on the M4 between junctions 14 and 18, and the M5 from junction 8 to junction 31.

Since police began using HGVs to monitor driving behaviour in 2015, more than 21,600 offences have been recorded on the UK’s motorways. The most common offences have included using a mobile phone (6,073), not wearing a seatbelt (6,253), not in proper control of vehicle (1,501) and speeding (1,199). In total, 19,564 vehicles have been stopped under Operation Tramline between July 2015 and April 2021.

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Nicholas Reed, National Highways’ south west road safety lead, said: “The HGV cabs are an important part of our commitment to tackling unsafe driving and those who take unnecessary risks with their own safety and that of others on the road.

“The number of people found using their mobile phone while driving is quite alarming. You are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone and, if caught, face a £200 fine and six points on your licence.

“Through this fortnight of action on the M5 and M4 we want to make all of our roads safer by raising awareness and encouraging motorists to consider their driving behaviour.”

Operation Peninsula will also be at motorway services along the M5 and M4 to offer advice to drivers on matters including breakdowns and load safety with national Highways’ traffic officers offering free tyre checks and safety tips. Vehicle checks will also be carried out by the DVSA at various locations along the M5 and M4.

Caroline Hicks, DVSA head of regulatory services and transformation, added: “We are determined to protect the public from dangerous drivers and vehicles on UK roads and ensure that non-compliance, whether intentional or not, does not endanger the public.”

Nina Day from the HSE transport sector, warned employers to ensure that drivers, other workers, and members of the public are kept safe when vehicles are used for work. She added: “There are legal requirements for employers to have robust procedures in place to manage vehicle safety, including ensuring suitable procedures are in place, providing workers with appropriate training and equipment, maintaining equipment and vehicles, and supporting drivers when they raise concerns. HSE works closely with our partner agencies to help vehicle operators and load consignors understand their legal responsibilities.”