Hampshire driver caught out by police after reading book while driving

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A driver in Hampshire was spotted reading a book while going along the road, it has been revealed.

They were one of 2,700 people stopped for unsafe driving by police forces across England.

The drivers were caught by police who were using a HGV cab loaned by Highways England, which allowed officers to film drivers from an elevated position.

Among the other drivers stopped was a lorry driver filmed using two mobile phones simultaneously while on the M6 in Cheshire.

The man, who has not been named, held one phone to his ear while texting on another handset.

Highways England said examples of irresponsible driving included a man in Surrey boiling water in a kettle on his dashboard and a motorist in Kent watching a DVD.

A man in Surrey told officers he was using his mobile phone because he needed to call his new girlfriend after “their song” came on the radio.

Anthony Thorpe from Highways England’s incident prevention team said: ‘The vast majority of drivers pay attention when they’re on a motorway but a minority are putting themselves and others at risk by not driving safely.

‘We’ve been loaning out the HGV cab to police forces to help improve safety and are delighted that the initiative is making a real difference and protecting motorists.

‘It’s astonishing and worrying that drivers have got into bad driving habits and are using their mobile phones, watching DVDs or even boiling a kettle while driving.’

Since the safety scheme began in April last year some 3,494 offences have been spotted, with nearly half relating to the unsafe use of mobile phones and over a fifth involving drivers not wearing seatbelts.

Some 25 forces have taken part in the project.

Last month Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced that motorists will face tougher punishments for using handheld phones behind the wheel.

Drivers are currently given three penalty points and a minimum fine of £100 for the offence, but this is set to be increased to six points and £200 under the plans.