A27 crash: Lorry driver caught on camera texting before collision

A lorry driver who was filmed texting on his mobile phone moments before he crashed into a broken-down van, injuring three people, has been jailed.

Derek Holland crashed into a stationary security van on the A27, in East Sussex, injuring the van’s driver, a prison escort and a prisoner on board.

When Sussex Police examined footage from Holland’s cab cameras they found he had also taken both hands off the wheel to peel a banana while driving.

He was jailed for over three years.

Police found 42 separate incidents of poor driving during Holland’s four-hour journey prior to the crash, which happened near Lewes, just before 11.00 BST on 10 August 2020.

These included the almost continuous use of his mobile phone while not wearing a seatbelt, and taking both hands off the wheel to peel a banana and to wave while at traffic lights, a police spokesman said.

He added: “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.

“As soon as the police vehicle was out of sight, he removed the belt again.”

‘Taking risks’

While being questioned, Holland, of Sutton Avenue, Seaford, admitted to police his manner of driving had been “appalling”.

Holland pleaded guilty to four charges when he appeared at Hove Crown Court, and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.

Det Sgt Rob Baldwin said: “This is the worst case of prolonged distracted driving that I have seen.

“Holland had responsibility for driving a large goods vehicle, and he would have been well aware of the risks he was taking.”

Source: BBC