Footage of an HGV driver using a mobile phone to make a credit card payment as he travelled along a motorway has been released by Highways England.
The trucker, who was seen holding his credit card and phone in each hand, was among over 3,000 dangerous drivers filmed by three unmarked HGV “supercabs” in the past year to improve safety on England’s high-speed roads.
The cabs, funded by Highways England, have travelled thousands of miles since they first took to the road 12 months ago and police offers inside the vehicles have recorded over 3,500 offences.
“Hundreds of thousands of drivers use our roads every day and the vast majority are sensible behind the wheel but some are putting themselves and others at risk,” said Richard Leonard, Head of Road Safety at Highways England. “We introduced the three new HGV supercabs last year to help keep the roads safe and tackle dangerous driving by people who have either got into bad habits or are simply ignoring the law.”
The three Highways England supercabs patrol motorways and major A roads across England, and have been used by 29 police forces over the past year in a safety initiative known as Operation Tramline. They allow police officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles, and drivers are then pulled over by police cars following a short distance behind. The supercabs have a de-restricted 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.
Other footage captured using the cabs in their first year included a van driver who was spotted with no hands on the wheel as he used one hand to change gear and the other to hold his mobile phone. The driver of a pick-up truck was also filmed without his hands on the wheel as he wrote a text message.
“We need to improve road safety – there’s a small minority of drivers whose actions endanger other road users often with tragic consequences,” said Tom Cotton, Road Haulage Association’s Head of Licencing and Infrastructure Policy. “Operation Tramline is an invaluable initiative to help police catch the drivers putting themselves and others at risk.”