UK

This is the moment a driver behind the wheel of a loaded car transporter is seen using his elbow to steer while on a motorway. 

The video shows the driver with both hands off the steering wheel, instead using his elbow to keep it in place.

It was filmed on the M40 near Gaydon in Warwickshire by police, who said the driver was “oblivious” that he was being recorded as they drove up alongside him in an unmarked HGV cab.

As soon as officers caught his attention, he quickly put his hands on the wheel, but was then pulled over by a police car travelling behind.

The video was released by National Highways – the government-owned company responsible for England’s motorways and major A roads – who have been running a campaign with police to crack down on distracted drivers.

Named Operation Tramline, the campaign, which has been running since 2015, has recorded more than 33,000 offences.

The footage of the car transporter driver was one of three incidents released by National Highways showing poor driving in late January and early February this year.

In one incident, a man was filmed texting on a mobile phone and not wearing a seatbelt while driving a horsebox on the A46 Coventry Eastern Bypass.

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In another example, a woman was caught participating in a video call while holding a mobile phone as she drove along the M40 near Junction 16 for Lapworth, Warwickshire.

Operation Tramline involves police officers being deployed in HGV cabs so they can film drivers from an elevated position.

The most common offences recorded are not wearing a seatbelt (9,962) and illegal use of a mobile phone (8,368).

There have also been 2,257 incidents of drivers not being in proper control of their vehicles.

Consequences for drivers range from warnings to fixed penalty notices, court summons or arrests.

National Highways head of road safety Jeremy Phillips said: “We are committed to reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured while travelling on our roads by 50 per cent by 2025 and we have a long-term ambition for zero harm.

“To achieve that we need to tackle the unsafe driving behaviour that we sadly still encounter.

“Those who continue to pose a risk should be aware that we are working with our police partners to make sure they are spotted and prevented from causing serious harm to themselves or others.”

As part of a new week of action, officers from eight forces will patrol the M1 between London and Leeds in unmarked HGV cabs next week.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for roads policing operations Commander Kyle Gordon said: “We are pleased to be working with our key partner National Highways once again as we work to reduce the danger caused on one of our busiest roads, and beyond, by drivers who allow themselves to be distracted while driving.”

Department for Transport figures show 67 people were killed and a further 686 were seriously injured in crashes on Britain’s roads in 2021 when a distraction within a vehicle was a contributory factor.

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