By Chris Jaffray
Terrifying footage shows the moment a ‘texting’ van driver swerved out of his lane and into the path of a 44 tonne truck while allegedly on his phone on the motorway.
Dashcam video filmed by an HGV driver for transportation firm KBC Logistics shows the yellow van drifting across its lane and heading directly into the lorry’s path at speeds of more than 50mph.
At the last minute of the incident, filmed on the M25 at Rickmansworth, Herts, last Thursday just after 12pm, the vehicle can be seen merging back out of the lorry’s way – coming just inches from touching the vehicle.
David Ashford, director of transport at the company, was shown the video of the near miss by his driver – and said he was horrified when he spotted what appears to be a phone in the other motorist’s hand.
The video has emerged after calls were made by MPs yesterday [TUES] to impose stricter punishments on those caught texting at the wheel.
David, 53, from Essex said: “We have around 200 trucks, so the drivers come to us when they have had a near miss and we check the cameras.
“When I was looking at the video, I noticed the van driver had a phone in his hand.
“He drifted because he was on his phone.
“If the driver had panicked and swerved right he could have hit the central reservation and gone into the opposing carriageway.
“All of our truckers are fitted with four cameras, but the company the yellow van belongs to obviously doesn’t have them fitted or they wouldn’t let their drivers use phones at the wheel.
“The footage shows just how near a miss it was, it is pretty disappointing.
“It could have led to a fatality, texting is just ridiculous when you are driving.
“You are not paying attention to what is going on at all and that is the reason why he drifted into another lane and didn’t realise what is coming.
“It could have been yet another road accident caused by a phone.”
David is fully backing new government proposals for hands-free phones to be banned while driving after MPs found they created an equal risk of crashes.
Those found using their phone at the wheel currently receive six points and a £200 fine but David agreed the authorities should crack down on them harder.
David, who has not reported the incident to the police, added: “These plans are 100 per cent for me – they need to give harsher penalties out.
“If you take a similar approach to drink driving, where it’s a 12 month ban, people would consider it more.
“The trouble is there are not enough police on the road, you have cameras to catch speeders but not enough to pick up on bad driving.”
No spokesman for the company visible on the yellow van was available, but one employee stated ‘it’s not true’ when asked for comment.