Thu, 19 Jan 2017
EATING cereal, or reading a book behind the wheel and having a shave on the M4 whilst driving.
These were among driver distractions spotted by police during a recent week-long crackdown on major routes - including the A34.
A total 137 drivers were caught using their mobile phone at the wheel in five days last week, during Operation Tramline, run jointly by Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police, which saw a total 213 drivers stopped for various offences.
Police used an unmarked HGV tractor unit as well as unmarked police cars and motorbikes, to carry out the five-day operation on major local routes, including the A34, M27, M3, M4 and M40.
Of the 213 drivers stopped, 151 were distracted while behind the wheel.
Of those 151, 137 were caught using their mobile phones and others were stopped for reading books and eating.
One van driver was stopped on the M27 for eating his breakfast cereal while driving and a HGV driver was caught shaving on the M4.
Many drivers were found holding their devices below the steering wheel and looking at the screen instead of the road ahead, as seen in this video released by Hampshire Constabulary.
The worst crash on the A34 in living memory last year, which claimed the life of a woman and three children – was caused by a lorry driver distracted by a mobile phone.
Tomasz Kroker was distracted for at least seven seconds when his lorry ploughed into stationary traffic at 50mph on August 10.
The moment’s distraction resulted in the deaths of a 45-year-old woman, her two sons, aged 13 and 11, and her partner’s daughter, aged 11.
Mr Kroker was sentenced last October to ten years in jail, after pleading guilty to four counts of causing death by dangerous driving.
Sgt Paul Diamond, who led last week’s police operation, said it was "disappointing," he said to see so many people still using mobile phones while driving.
“You can clearly see from the footage from our operation at the end of last year that if a driver’s attention is on their mobile phone, it is not on the road and this can be potentially fatal," said Sgt Diamond.
“Sadly we have seen many examples over the last 12 months of lives lost unnecessarily because a driver has not had their full attention on the road.
Other offences during the police crackdown included 25 stopped for excess speed and eight for careless driving, as well as no insurance, no tax and insecure loads.
A vehicle examiner from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) inspected vehicles stopped, resulting in prohibitions on ten (vehicles) for tyre, brake and steering defects.