Footage shows driver on phone nearly hitting police in HGV supercab

Fleet news logo

A lorry driver has been caught veering on to the hard shoulder and narrowly avoiding a collision with another HGV, using his mobile phone at the wheel.

The driver was caught by an unmarked ‘supercab’ with two police officers inside.

The recent footage, taken on the M40 by Warwickshire Police, captured one of over 21,000 offences recorded by officers in the Operation Tramline HGV cabs since the national safety initiative was launched by Highways England.

In another clip captured by the force, a lorry driver is seen looking down and texting on his phone as he travels along the motorway.

The Highways England HGV cabs are being used as part of a multi-agency Week of Action on the M6, taking place from May 24 to May 30, which aims to reduce the number of incidents on the motorway and highlight the risks of dangerous driving.

Under the banner of Operation Vertebrae, the campaign takes place along the length of the M6. Highways England said it deals with around 180 reported incidents on the M6 every day. These include traffic collisions with 4,222 reported on the M6 in 2019.

Since the launch of Operation Tramline in 2015, more than 21,600 offences have been recorded. The most common offences included using a mobile phone (6,073), not wearing a seatbelt (6,253), not in proper control of vehicle (1,501) and speeding (1,199).

In total, 19,564 vehicles were stopped in Operation Tramline between July 2015 and April 2021.

Video: Near-miss as driver caught on phone at the wheel by HGV supercab

Highways England head of road safety, Jeremy Phillips said: “The Operation Tramline cabs are an important part of our commitment to tackling dangerous driving and those who take unnecessary risks with their own safety and that of others on the road.

“The number of people found using their mobile phone while driving is quite alarming. You are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone and, if caught, face a £200 fine and six points on your licence.

“Through this week of action on the M6 we want to make all of our roads safer by raising awareness and encouraging motorists to consider their driving behaviour.”

From the elevated viewpoint in the unmarked HGV cabs, police officers can spot people driving dangerously.

A truck driver who ploughed into a school minibus killing a teenage boy and teaching assistant after using his mobile phone, was jailed last year.

Among the incidents witnessed during Operation Tramline was a driver steering a lorry with his knees while eating lunch on his lap and using his phone in the East Midlands. While in West Mercia, officers saw a driver eating lasagne with a knife and fork while driving along a motorway.

Surrey Police spotted an HGV driver boiling a kettle on the dashboard and another eating pickled gherkins from a jar with his elbows on the steering wheel.

One driver was caught twice in one day – in the morning and afternoon - using their mobile phone while driving along the A38 in Derbyshire.

Consequences for the drivers range from warnings to fixed penalty notices, court summons or even arrest.

In addition to the supercab patrols, partners taking part in the M6 week of action will be present at motorway services offering advice to drivers such as what to do in a breakdown and ensuring load safety.

Photo caption: The Operation Tramline ‘supercab’ which patrols motorways and major A roads

Vehicle checks will also be carried out involving the DVSA, Health and Safety Executive and the Home Office.

HSE transport sector spokesperson Nina Day said: “Employers must ensure that drivers, other workers, and members of the public are kept safe when vehicles are used for work.

“There are legal requirements for employers to have robust procedures in place to manage vehicle safety, including ensuring suitable procedures are in place, providing workers with appropriate training and equipment, maintaining equipment and vehicles, and supporting drivers when they raise concerns.

“HSE works closely with our partner agencies to help vehicle operators and load consignors understand their legal responsibilities.”

Six forces are taking part in Operation Vertebrae – Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Warwickshire Police and Central Motorway Police Group, as well as the North West Commercial Vehicle Unit.

Fleet News Awards + Commercial Fleet Awards 2021

The Fleet News Awards is moving to a new date for 2021.

Traditionally held in March, next year the awards night moves to June 29 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. It will also for the first time incorporate the Commercial Fleet Awards to create an unparalleled celebration that honours and recognises excellence across every part of the fleet sector.

Stephen Briers, editor-in-chief of Fleet News, said: “With the industry in turmoil due to the coronavirus pandemic, we had a chance to reflect and review our awards proposition for 2021. While going virtual is an option, and one we are very excited about with our Fleet & Mobility Live show in November, we believe that an awards evening is also a networking evening and a chance to meet old friends and make new acquaintances in a relaxed environment.

“For many guests, it’s their industry highlight of the year. That’s why we decided to move the date to give us a better chance of being live at the Grosvenor House.”

Fleet News Awards 2021, incorporating Commercial Fleet Awards, will offer a unique opportunity to bring together the entire fleet sector to celebrate and honour the best people, companies and vehicles.

It is set to become the biggest and most important night in fleet. Further details about awards categories, judges and auditing will be released in January when Fleet News officially launches the Fleet News Awards 2021.

If you can’t wait until then, and want to know more, please email

Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Comment as guest

Login  /  Register


  • Jon Meddings - 24/05/2021 13:17

    Great job, continuing to keep our roads safer

    Reply as guest

    Login  /  Register

Related content

What's the tax liability on my van?

Calculate the BIK tax on any van on sale today with our van tax calculator

How green is your van?

Check out the CO2 emissions for new vans with our CO2 calculator?