Five year sentence for driver who caused fatal collision while using mobile phone

A Nottinghamshire woman has been jailed for five years after her inattention while driving caused a fatal collision on the M1 motorway in November 2014.

Christy George, 38, of Lime Tree Road, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, was found guilty last month of causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice after a trial at Leicester Crown Court.

During the trial George pleaded guilty to causing death whilst uninsured. She was sentenced today (Friday 15 July) to five years in prison.

The court heard George was travelling to work during the evening of Tuesday 25 November along the southbound carriageway of the M1. During her journey she made calls to a friend and her husband using her mobile telephone.

George was driving her Skoda along the motorway. Eye witnesses described the Skoda swerving towards the central reservation and then suddenly applying harsh steering to the left, coming back on to the motorway when her vehicle collided with a HGV.

The impact of the collision resulted in the HGV losing control and crossing over the central reservation where it struck a BMW, travelling in the opposite direction. The driver of the BMW, Murray Simpson, 48, of London, sustained fatal injuries.

A number of other vehicles were damaged during the incident, three people were taken to hospital with minor injuries and the driver of one of the cars sustained serious injuries for which she is still receiving ongoing medical care.

The southbound carriageway of the M1 was closed for 18 hours whilst emergency services dealt with the aftermath.

Detective Constable 1761 Pete Davies was the investigating officer, he said: “The conviction and sentencing of Christy George sends a clear message to drivers about the devastating consequences that can come from using mobile phones or other devices while driving.

“Although people are becoming so used to constantly using their mobile phones they need to be aware that following a collision the police will seek to establish whether a mobile phone or other device was in use and if so whether it was a contributory factor in the collision.

“Drivers who can be shown to have been unreasonably distracted run the risk of prosecution, and in a case such as this where tragically someone has been killed and others seriously injured the penalty will be severe – and all for the sake of making or taking phone calls that could have waited.

The sensible advice in the Highway Code should be followed if drivers want to remain safe and within the law.”

Highway Code advice:-

• You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. You MUST NOT use a hand-held mobile phone, or similar device, when driving or when supervising a learner driver, except to call 999 or 112 in a genuine emergency when it is unsafe or impractical to stop. Never use a hand-held microphone when driving. Using hands-free equipment is also likely to distract your attention from the road. It is far safer not to use any telephone while you are driving or riding – find a safe place to stop first or use the voicemail facility and listen to messages later.

• There is a danger of driver distraction being caused by in-vehicle systems such as satellite navigation systems, congestion warning systems, PCs, multi-media, etc. You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. Do not rely on driver assistance systems such as cruise control or lane departure warnings. They are available to assist but you should not reduce your concentration levels. Do not be distracted by maps or screen-based information (such as navigation or vehicle management systems) while driving or riding. If necessary find a safe place to stop.

Please also view: www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/general-rules-techniques-and-advice-for-all-drivers-and-riders-103-to-158

Source:: Leicestershire Police News

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