Driver caught eating cereal on the M27 at Fareham
A DRIVER was caught eating cereal while driving on the M27 during the morning rush hour.
The motorist was one of 151 drivers stopped while ‘distracted’ at the wheel in a recent police crackdown.
The driver eating breakfast was spotted on the westbound carriageway near Fareham by police patrolling undercover.
Road safety officers from Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police used an unmarked HGV from Highways England, as well as unmarked police cars and motorbikes as part Operation Tramline.
Fareham MP Suella Fernandes said distracted drivers put others in serious danger.
‘Drivers who don’t take sufficient care on the roads pose a very serious danger for others,’ she said.
‘I urge drivers to concentrate fully while driving so the risk of accidents is reduced.’
Out of the 151 drivers caught, 137 were found to be using their mobile phone, with many using it below the steering wheel to try and hide what they were doing.
Sergeant Paul Diamond, who led the operation, said: ‘It’s disappointing to see so many people still using mobile phones while they are 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.
‘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.
‘That is why identifying distracted drivers is a priority for the Roads Policing Unit across Hampshire and Thames Valley and we will continue to target drivers who choose to disregard the safety of others.’
The five-day sting saw a total of 213 drivers stopped for various offences on the M27, M3, A34, M4 and M40, with 151 being ‘distracted’ at the wheel, police said.
In one case, a HGV driver was caught having a shave on the M4.
Other drivers were stopped for reading books and eating.
Edmund King, AA president, said the results of the operation were shocking.
‘It is disappointing to see some drivers are still not taking the dangers of distraction seriously, in whatever form it may take,’ he said.
‘No-one uses a handheld phone, reads a book, shaves or eats their breakfast at the wheel by mistake.
‘These are all deliberate and dangerous acts that divert attention from driving and put the lives of the driver, their passengers and other road users in danger.’
Speeding drivers accounted for 25 of those stopped, and eight others were accused of careless driving.
Traffic police stopped some drivers for having no insurance, no tax or insecure loads.
John Henderson, from Highways England, said: ‘Safety is our top priority and I am pleased that our HGV cab has been so useful in helping the police to identify unsafe behaviour on the motorways and major A roads.
‘It provides an ideal viewing platform for police officers to identify dangerous behaviour.’
A spokesperson for road safety charity Brake added: ‘Driver distraction is thought to be one of the biggest contributory factors in devastating, serious crashes on our roads. That’s why all drivers need to keep their minds completely focused on the road at all times – any distraction could be fatal.’
Police have launched repeated crackdowns on drivers using phones at the wheel after lorry driver Tomasz Kroker killed a mother and three children on the A34.