A record-breaking 317 reckless drivers were caught using their phones, watching movies, and not wearing seat belts in one day by an undercover police truck patrol.
The law-breaking drivers were captured on film by Warwickshire Police as part of Operation Tramline, a national campaign that uses trucks to catch dangerous drivers in the act.
In just one day, on November 13, a record 317 offenses, including 69 drivers using a cell phone and 97 drivers not wearing a seat belt.
Police say that despite the coronavirus pandemic as the volume of traffic on the roads declined, the number of reckless drivers caught was “staggering”.
In one shocking clip, officers caught a truck driver who had failed to secure a tractor to his truck. He was also playing on his phone and was not wearing a seat belt.
He was so distracted by his phone that he didn’t notice the police truck, despite the fact that they filmed it for a few minutes as he sped down the M40 at 100 km / h.
An officer taking the recording hears say, “There are torn tapes, I don’t like that.
“There are holes in the tires.
“And he’s on his phone and without a seat belt and with a tractor on the back.
“He texts away and swipes up on his phone.”
While the police continued to film, the driver even took his left hand off the steering wheel and put it on his chin while texting with his right hand.
An unmarked police car with sirens and lights on followed the truck, but the driver continued to text on his phone.
The stunned officer says, “He’s got his elbow on the wheel. Still no response to us.
“The [police car] is lit up like a Christmas tree, but there is still no response. “
Another driver of a black Range Rover was caught using WhatsApp while driving onto the emergency lane of the highway.
Police also caught a truck driver watching a video while behind the wheel.
An officer says to his colleague, “He’s watching a video.”
When the driver realizes he has been caught red-handed, he cheekily waves cops before being apprehended.
The truck police unit also caught another driver with 30 tons of stones unsecured in the back of his truck.
Meanwhile, eagle-eyed officers spotted another truck loaded with fake cigarettes. The driver also had no insurance or driver’s license.
The incidents were all recorded by officers patrolling the busy M40 and M42 in Warwickshire and the West Midlands.
Sergeant Carl Stafford said, “While this is a record-breaking operation for violations detected by our officers, it is also an extremely disappointing operation, as even with a decrease in traffic due to the current epidemic, we are seeing an increase in violations.
“The increase in the use of mobile phones while driving is staggering despite all the publicity and the increase in penalties. People still selfishly endanger themselves and others by being distracted by their phones, which is made worse when in charge of trucks.
“We also found that most drivers who pulled up without a seat belt were actually making a conscious effort to buck it up behind them. I can’t grasp the mindset not to use this non-intrusive device that has been proven to save lives.”
Marie Biddulph, Assistant Regional Safety Coordinator at Highways England, said: “It is frustrating to see how many drivers are willing to endanger themselves and others on our roads.
“It is extremely disappointing that nearly 100 drivers chose not to wear their seat belts and 69 people were seen using a handheld cell phone while behind the wheel.”