MORE THAN 130 motorists were caught using their mobile phone at the wheel in a police crackdown on distracted motorway driving over an 18 day period.
Officers from the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) used an unmarked heavy goods vehicle cab to help spot drivers committing traffic offences and risking accidents in the West Midlands region.
The three-week operation saw 274 vehicles stopped on the M5, M6 and M42 by motorway police.
There were a total of 310 offences reported – 133 of those for using a mobile phone and 138 for not wearing a seat-belt.
Other reasons for being stopped were driving without due care and attention or not being in proper control of the vehicle after officers witnessed some drivers rolling-up cigarettes and reading directions at the wheel.
The operation was run by CMPG – an alliance between West Midlands, West Mercia and Staffordshire Police – between Monday (April 4) and Friday (22 April).
Punishments for those caught included warnings, penalty notices or attending an awareness course.
Inspector Simon Kirman, from CMPG, said: “We saw some drivers recklessly jeopardising their own safety and potentially putting other road users at risk.
“It only takes a momentary distraction to cause an accident which, at high speed, can be catastrophic.
“It is not acceptable even during slower moving or queuing traffic to check a mobile phone for messages, text messaging or looking at social media.
“A lot of drivers acknowledged their behaviour was wrong when stopped and the operation was about enforcement but also education.”