Lorry driver, 59, caught texting at wheel before smashing into van on dual carriageway

This is the terrifying moment a texting lorry driver smashed into the back of a van, seriously injuring three people.

Derek Holland, 59, was captured not paying attention to the road by two company cameras fitted to his vehicle just before the crash on the A27 in Sussex on 10 August last year.

The video was reviewed by detectives, who recorded 42 separate incidents of poor driving during his four-hour journey prior to the collision near Lewes.

The incidents included "almost persistent" use of his mobile phone while not wearing a seatbelt, and taking both hands off the wheel to peel a banana and to wave at traffic lights.

Derek Holland was seen using his mobile phone while he drove his lorry on the A27 in Sussex. (SWNS)
Derek Holland was seen using his mobile phone while he drove his lorry on the A27 in Sussex. (SWNS)

Throughout the journey, Holland 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.

The collision involved a security van which had broken down on the westbound dual carriageway.

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.

When interviewed, he admitted his behaviour was “atrocious”.

The collision involved a security van which had broken down on the westbound dual carriageway. (SWNS)
The collision involved a security van which had broken down on the westbound dual carriageway. (SWNS)

Holland, of Seaford, East Sussex, pleaded guilty to all four charges and was this week sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail following an appearance at Hove Crown Court.

Judge Rennie told Holland: “You had no consideration for public safety or for the law.

"Very clearly, there was nobody else to blame other than yourself for causing this collision.”

Detective sergeant Rob Baldwin, of Sussex Police Serious Collision Investigations Unit, described the incident as “the worst case of prolonged distracted driving that I have seen”.

Derek Holland was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail. (SWNS)
Derek Holland was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail. (SWNS)

He added: “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.”

Holland was also disqualified from driving for 57 months, and must take an extended re-test if he wants to get back behind the wheel again.