Footage released by Highways England shows a trucker checking his phone while driving with his foot on the dashboard.

The driver is one of more than 4,000 dangerous drivers caught on England’s roads by a single unmarked heavy goods vehicle (HGV) cab over the past two years.

Another driver was found to have sent 10 replies to 10 texts within one hour; one driver was seen trying to put toothpaste on a toothbrush; and another was spotted steering with his knees while he ate his lunch and used his mobile phone.

“The HGV cab, which is funded by Highways England, has been patrolling motorways and major A roads over the past couple of years with the aim of improving road safety,” said Richard Leonard, Highways England’s Head of Road Safety. “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.”

The elevated position of the cab allows police officers to film unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles on motorways and major A roads. Drivers are then pulled over by police cars following behind. Nearly two thirds of the drivers who have been stopped were illegally using a mobile phone while driving.

“Police forces are committed to keeping our roads safe and partnership with Highways England is absolutely crucial for that, as we can see from the thousands of offences detected by the HGV cab,” said National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham. “Together with targeted local action by police officers, this has become an important element of our intelligence-led operations against dangerous driving. Driving whilst distracted is completely unacceptable and police are also making use of the tougher new penalties to stop this dangerous behaviour by ensuring that offenders face the full weight of law.”