A joint police and National Highways operation using an unmarked HGV captured almost 700 offences in just one week on the M1.
Eight police forces travelled the route between Leeds and London in the National Highways HGVs on the look-out for unsafe driving in a week of action targeting the motorway, stopped a total of 663 vehicles and uncovered 691 offences.
The most common offence was not wearing a seatbelt with 239 people caught without their belt on – 73 in South Yorkshire alone.
This was followed by 181 people spotted using a mobile phone at the wheel then 44 drivers not in proper control of their vehicle and 43 driving without due care and attention.
Penalties ranged from words of advice and traffic offence reports to 14 court summons and five arrests.
National Highways head of road safety, Jeremy Phillips, said: “Hundreds of thousands of motorists travel over 21 million miles on the M1 every day – accounting for one in seven of all motorway journeys – and the vast majority are safe and legal drivers.
“But there is a minority that continue to put themselves and others at risk. It is disappointing that almost 700 offences were spotted in just one week – but thanks to Operation Freeway those drivers were prevented from continuing with their unsafe behaviours.
Sergeant James Parmar, of West Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit, said his force stopped 86 drivers on West Yorkshire’s stretch of the M1 during Operation Freeway for more than 90 offences.
“The vast majority of these drivers were driving HGV or LGV vehicles and stopped for five fatal offences,” he added.
“The reality is that the dangers of actions such as using a mobile phone while driving, not wearing a seatbelt or driving without due care or attention are potentially even more catastrophic when a larger vehicle is involved.”