MORE than 70 per cent of driving offences recorded by an unmarked HGV patrolling Wiltshire in the past year were of motorists using their phones, it has been revealed.

The crackdown, which is part of Operation Tramline, has been targeting drivers on some of the country’s fastest roads.

Figures released today, May 13, found that of the 49 vehicles stopped in the county, 48 offences were recorded, of which 34 drivers were found to be using their mobile phones at the wheel.

The other offences included eight people not wearing a seatbelt, and one person not in proper control of their vehicle.

No one was caught by the HGV's for speeding.

As a result, police officers issued 11 penalty charge notices, and filed three traffic offence reports – usually requiring drivers to attend a driver education course.

However, there were no prosecutions recorded.

The special vehicle is one of three supercabs, funded by Highways England, which have travelled thousands of miles since they first took to the road 12 months ago.

Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, said: “Hundreds of thousands of drivers use our roads every day and the vast majority are sensible behind the wheel but some are putting themselves and others at risk.

“We introduced the three new HGV supercabs last year to help keep the roads safe and tackle dangerous driving by people who have either got into bad habits or are simply ignoring the law.

“The cabs have helped to identify over 3,000 unsafe drivers over the past year, and we hope they will encourage everyone to think about what more they could do to improve how they drive.”

The three Highways England supercabs patrol motorways and major A roads across England. They have been used by 29 police forces over the past year, including Wiltshire Police.

The force says that the cabs allow officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles, and drivers are then pulled over by police cars following a short distance behind.

The supercabs have a de-restricted speed limiter which means they can travel at speeds up to the national speed limit, and flashing lights have been installed for use by police forces in an emergency.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for roads policing, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said: “Operation Tramline is a successful collaboration between the police and Highways England.

“We remain committed to tackling those who take unnecessary risks with their own safety and the safety of others on our roads by allowing themselves to be distracted while driving. The consequences of these actions are often devastating.

“We will continue to work alongside Highways England on Operation Tramline and will prosecute drivers who ignore the risks.”