Highways England will fund three new unmarked HGV cabs to patrol the country’s motorways and A-roads in search of dangerous drivers.

The vehicles will be fitted with wide-angle cameras, which can film evidence of unsafe driving such as using a handheld phone or failing to wear a seatbelt. The crew can then request a passing police car to stop the vehicle and issue appropriate punishment.

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The trucks will also be fitted with blue lights and will have their speed limiters removed, allowing them to travel at speeds of up to 70mph to keep up with flowing traffic.

One such vehicle is already in operation and has been used to catch more than 4,000 dangerous drivers in the past two years, with almost two-thirds of those stopped for using their mobile phone while driving.

Highways England hopes that adding to the fleet will help to stamp out drivers’ bad habits.

Richard Leonard, Highways England’s head of road safety, said: ‘Highways England has been funding a single cab for the past couple of years and we’ve been impressed with the impact it’s had on improving safety. Over 4,000 dangerous drivers have been pulled over, with police action ranging from verbal warnings to prosecutions.

‘We’ve found that the vast majority of drivers are sensible behind the wheel but a few have got into bad habits, or are simply ignoring the law and putting themselves and others at risk.

‘We’ve therefore decided to fund extra unmarked HGV cabs to continue to target dangerous driving on England’s motorways and major A roads, improving safety for everyone.’

France recently banned the use of mobile phones in cars, even when stationary.