Phone Death Crash Driver Jailed

Driver Phone Death

30.06.2008

A lorry driver, who crashed while talking on his mobile phone headset, killing one man and badly injuring two others, has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Mervyn Richmond, 49, from Derby, was convicted by Lincoln Crown Court for causing death by dangerous driving.

The court heard that Mr Richmond had been distracted during a telephone conversation while driving along the A631 in Lincolnshire. He failed to notice two lorries and a Transit van that had stopped in front of him and his Scania HGV ran into the van, killing the passenger, Michael Buston.

Mr Buston's brother-in-law, Peter Long, was seriously injured, as was the driver of the vehicle at the head of the queue.

The jury heard that Mr Richmond was so engrossed in the conversation with his mother that he was "oblivious to all around him."

Relatives of Mr Buston and road safety charities have now called for an outright ban on making phone calls while driving. Statistics show that the practice makes drivers four times more likely to have an accident, even if they are using a hands-free kit.

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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "This tragic case highlights the fact that even hands free phones can lead to serious or fatal road traffic accidents if they are permitted to distract a drivers attention.

"Drivers should take heed that if they allow their attention to be distracted by the use of a phone or anything else and this leads to a road crash, they too could face prosecution and the possibility of imprisonment.

"Driving is a potentially hazardous activity and must be undertaken seriously.

"Sadly, I represent many people who have been injured or killed in road traffic crashes many of which in circumstances that could have been avoided."