Police have cunning new way to catch drivers using mobile phones at the wheel

Police officers are set to catch drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel by watching them from an unmarked lorry.

It comes after some forces in England started using double-decker buses to stop those people committing the dangerous crime.

In Wales, officers from across the four forces will use a handheld video camera in a HGV tractor unit to catch those breaking the law.

According to Wales Online , Operation Tramline, will see officers target those texting or using mobile phones, driving dangerously and other motoring offences.

The operation was used by South Wales Police in April to catch drivers using a mobile phone on the M4 corridor.

During that week, 120 vehicles were stopped, 84 traffic offences were reported and 23 prohibition notices and 15 fixed penalty notices were issued.

There were also 14 cautions, with £2,760 in fines raised.

South Wales Police said they will be running the operation again over the next two months to catch drivers before Christmas.

A spokesman said: "We have no fixed dates but another of them will be marled up in the diary in October or November in the run up to Christmas."

In April, Inspector Steve Davies, from South Wales Police’s specialist operations department and Operation Tramline coordinator, said: “The ‘supercab’ will patrol the motorway and main trunk roads across Wales, and has been fitted with wide-angle cameras to capture unsafe driving behaviour.

"They also have an unrestricted 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.

“The cabs allow police officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles. Drivers are then pulled over by police cars following behind.

“We find that the vast majority of drivers are sensible behind the wheel but some are putting themselves and others at risk, therefore Operation Tramline will be a welcome addition to our officers’ daily work improving road safety across Wales.”

Other forces around the UK are also using similar methods to catch dangerous driving.

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West Midlands Police launched their Operation Top Deck earlier this month to catch motorists with video cameras from the top of a double decker bus, reports Birmingham Live .

On the first day of the initiative a woman was prosecuted for driving without due care and attention after officers found her eating from a bowl of cereal, a man was caught using his phone while on route to a speed awareness course and a disqualified driver was also pulled over and arrested.

PC Mark Hodson said: “Using mobile phones while driving is proven to be as dangerous as drink driving; it can devastate lives and people need to understand this isn’t acceptable.

"We want to create a credible, constant threat of prosecution to induce wholesale driver behavioural change and make our roads safer.

“The buses are ‘borrowed’ from National Express and will look like any other bus in service – but they will be driven by Safer Travel officers who are qualified bus drivers and the passengers will be police officers or PSCO’s equipped with video cameras.

“Buses give us a perfect vantage point into cars and also the cabs of lorries and trucks.

"Offenders will be given a roadside educational input on the dangers of distracted driving and also face the prospect of a hefty fine plus six points on their licence.

“We will look at particular circumstances but there will also be some drivers, ones who’ve been particularly reckless, who we will charge and take to court.”

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