A lorry driver has been jailed for three-and-a-half years after he collided with another vehicle while using his mobile phone.
Derek Holland, 59, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Hove Crown Court on July 27, 2021.
Police officers investigating the incident identified 42 incidents of ‘poor driving’ during Holland’s four-hour journey prior to his collision.
This included almost persistent use of his mobile phone and taking both hands off the wheel to peel a banana.
Throughout the journey, he used a replica seatbelt buckle in the socket to prevent the alarm from activating, and only put his actual seatbelt on when he pulled up behind a police car at a set of traffic lights.
The collision involved a security van, which had broken down in lane one of the A27 westbound dual carriageway on August 10, 2020. The three occupants – the driver, a prison escort and a prisoner, all sustained injuries.
Holland was subsequently arrested and charged with dangerous driving, and three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
In interview, he admitted his behaviour was “atrocious”.
Detective Sergeant Rob Baldwin, of the Serious Collision Investigations Unit at Sussex Police, said: “It was fortunate that the company had installed cameras on their lorry, which allowed us to examine the driver's actions. The company fully co-operated with our investigation.
“We reviewed the video footage from just the morning of the collision, and found 42 separate incidents of very poor driving. These were mostly where Holland was interacting with his mobile telephone, but also where he had taken his hands off of the steering wheel to eat, and was not in proper control of his vehicle.
“This is the worst case of prolonged distracted driving that I have seen. This was very much aggravated by the fact that Holland had responsibility for driving a large goods vehicle, and he would have been well aware of the risks he was taking. He showed a complete disregard for the safety of other road users.
“We strongly advise drivers not to engage with any activity that distracts them from the driving task – this could still lead to an offence of not being in proper control of a vehicle. Even if a device is not being held in the hand, distracted driving can lead to devastating consequences and will likely result in a prosecution for dangerous or careless driving, as this case demonstrates.”