We’ve all done it. You hear that bleep and your curiosity gets the better of you; you just have to see what the message says. So you divert your attention from the road ahead and take a quick look; with a bit of luck you’ll be okay.
But if you text at the wheel often enough, you’ll take your eyes off the road just when you really shouldn’t – and the penalties could be seriously heavy.
Philipa Curtis discovered exactly that; she was too busy texting to see that 24-year old Victoria McBryde was by the side of the A40, having broken down. Curtis diverted her attention from the road ahead only briefly, but it was long enough to kill another driver.
Curtis was found guilty of dangerous driving and jailed for 21 months, after it became evident that on her two-hour journey she’d sent and received around 20 texts. McBryde’s car would have been visible for eight seconds before the impact, yet Curtis didn’t react. That means Curtis was driving blind for 250 metres at 70mph; she got away very lightly with 21 months.
Not so smart
According to the RAC, for drivers aged 18-24:
- 48% use a smartphone while driving.
- 24% access Messenger or Twitter
- 21% text while driving
- 8% play games while driving.
- 82% 24 reckon using a smartphone while driving is dangerous
- 14% claim they’re perfectly safe using their mobile while driving.
Give us a quote
“At 70mph your car travels the length of six double-decker buses every two seconds. If someone told you to close your eyes at that speed for that length of time you’d think they were crazy – yet people are doing virtually the same thing by taking their eyes of the road to look at phones.”
The RAC’s Adrian Tink
Get caught using a mobile while driving and it’s an automatic three points plus a £60 fine; the penalty is the same if you’re driving badly while using a hands-free. Cause an accident while using a mobile and the penalties can be far more severe.
Watch the video
A woman who killed a man as she sent a text message while driving was jailed for three years. Susan Noble was driving on the A19 when she crashed into a stationary car at the side of the road. Alexandru Braninschi, who was standing at the side of the stationary vehicle at the time, was killed. Noble admitted causing death by dangerous driving; police secured clear evidence that she was using a mobile phone to exchange text messages with a friend. She was also disqualified from driving for six years and will have to take an extended driving test.
According to the IAM, using smartphones for social networking while driving slows reaction times by up to 37%. Despite the dangers, 24% of drivers aged 17-24 admit to doing it. The IAM’s tweeting hall of shame:
- @bellyki Here lies Isobel. She perished while simultaneously eating a whole packet of Percy Pigs, driving down the M3 and tweeting about it.
- @sacksy1 If I'm ever in an accident while driving and tweeting and you're the first person to arrive on the scene, grab my phone and press "Send."
- @GSpace7 Multi-tasking: Driving, Tweeting & Brushing my hair. I do it. If I die remember me like John Lennon.
- @A_Ishaq who said guys can't multi-task..tweeting,@ watching match n driving wow lol
- @tchudson Im driving, tweeting, smoking, talking and listening to @BBCR1 Ill listen to it via the #beatswhen I stop breaking the law. Safe!