A lorry driver caught at the wheel of a 44-tonne lorry on the M4 near Bristol using two mobile phones simultaneously was let off with a £200 fine.

Video footage captured by police officers last week shows the driver of the Mercedes articulated lorry holding a phone to each ear.

Avon and Somerset Police were using an undercover lorry of their own – borrowed from Highways England – to give police officers an elevated view.

Footage from Operation Tramline shows the police vehicle pulling level with the left-hand drive lorry.

The driver can clearly be seen holding a mobile phone to each ear, before quickly removing the phones to put both hands back on the steering wheel.

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 for Avon and Somerset Police yesterday said the man had not been summonsed to court.

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She said: “That driver was given a £200 on-the-spot fine for the offence of driving while using a mobile phone.”

The lorry was on the M4 between Junctions 17 and 18, travelling from the Bristol direction.

During the week-long operation the force also caught a vehicle weighing 3.5 tonnes illegally towing a trailer in lane three of the M5 motorway at excessive speed.

Another motorist was also 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.

Officers found 51 people not wearing seatbelts, 11 illegally using a mobile phone while driving, seven speeders and five driving without due care and attention.

Four motorists will be summonsed to answer to the courts for their alleged offences while 72 were handed fines.

Chief Inspector Jason Shears, Roads Policing Lead for Avon and Somerset Police, 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.

“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.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I am fully supportive of Op Tramline and the targeting of offenders whose actions are putting lives at risk.

“The offences captured by Avon and Somerset Police’s Road Policing Unit are appalling, unacceptable and dangerous.”

Beverley Hannah, Highways England’s South West Safety

Co-ordinator, said: “The vast majority of drivers who use our roads every day behave responsibly behind the wheel, but there are some who are putting themselves and others at risk by simply ignoring the law.

“That is why we introduced the three super cabs, and we are working with our police partners across the country to tackle dangerous driving such as illegally using mobile phones, or not wearing seatbelts.”

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