Driver caught on video by 'supercab' with no seatbelt and using a mobile phone made obscene gesture at police

A van driver caught on camera without a seatbelt and driving with one hand off the wheel and both eyes off the road made an obscene gesture to police when he realised he was being filmed.

By Kevin Clark
Monday, 21st March 2022, 10:24 am

The man, who was using a mobile phone while driving on the A1(M), was caught by a National Highways unmarked ‘supercab’ as part of a national safety drive.

He was issued with a fixed penalty notice for not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone and handed six penalty points and a £200 fine.

The cabs are now being used as part of a multi-agency campaign on the A1, running from today, Monday, March 21, to Friday, 1 April, which aims to reduce the number of incidents on the busy route and highlight the risks of dangerous driving.

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The driver was caught with no seatbelt and using a mobile phone

Under the banner of Operation Mainline, the campaign takes place along the A1 from Northumberland down to North Yorkshire with Northumbria, Durham and North Yorkshire forces raking part.

Vehicle checks will also be carried out at a number of locations by the DVSA and Health and Safety Executive, while National Highways Traffic Officers will visit motorway service areas at Washington, Wetherby and Skelton Lake to offer advice to drivers such as how to carry out basic vehicle maintenance.

National Highways deals with incidents on the A1 every day, with 9,675 reported in 2021 including 614 collisions.

Since the launch of Operation Tramline in 2015, more than 26,200 offences have been recorded across England.

One of the supercabs

In total, 23,971 vehicles were stopped during Operation Tramline between July 2015 and January 2022.

National Highways Regional Director Simon Boyle 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.

“Through this fortnight of action on the A1 we want to make all of our roads safer by raising awareness and encouraging motorists to consider their driving behaviour.”

Inspector Kevin Salter from Durham and Cleveland Specialist Operations Unit said: “It is important for us to work with neighbouring forces to keep our road networks safe for everyone to use especially as drivers regularly cross force borders.  By carrying out these operations together, we are able to engage and educate drivers on a larger scale about the importance of driving safely, and not becoming another statistic. 

Officers capture wrong-doing on video

Sgt Glen Robson, of Northumbria Police’s Motor Patrols Department, added: "This operation is a fantastic example of the holistic approach Forces and partners are committed to taking to keep our roads safe for all.

"If you are driving whilst on your mobile phone, or distracted by something else in the car, you are more likely to miss potential hazards and cause an accident – and these accidents can cost someone their loved one.”

Among the incidents witnessed during Operation Tramline have been a driver steering a lorry with his knees while eating lunch on his lap and a driver eating lasagne with a knife and fork while driving along a motorway.

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

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