Shocking but not to be unexpected in our sick, upside down society. A 20-year-old motorist who txted a friend seconds before she crashed and killed a grandmother has had her sentence reduced by 12 months.
It’s on my home patch, too. And on a road I use often.
Those who drive while using a mobile phone risk three points on their licence and a fine of £60. Perhaps some fool themselves into thinking messaging is somehow ‘safer’ than talking and must be allowed. It’s not. In fact, txting is probably worse as drivers have to use one hand for txting and probably need to look down to type.
Department for Transport advice: A hand held device is something that “is or must be held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function. A device “similar” to a mobile phone includes a device that can be used for sending or receiving spoken or written messages, sending or receiving still or moving images or providing Internet access.
This is all academic to Maureen Waites. She’s now dead, killed by Rachel Begg of Ponteland. Mrs Waites died after Begg crashed into her car on the road from Ponteland to Newcastle Airport in November 2006. This is a road I use a lot on training rides.
Begg had used her mobile telephone nine times in a 15-minute journey before she smashed into her victim.
Begg admitted causing death by dangerous driving and was given four years in a Young Offenders’ Institution. However, she appealed the decision and, bizarrely, the Court of Appeal agreed to a cut the sentence from four to three years.
According to the BBC, Lord Justice Laws described the case as “terrible”, but said that although what Begg had done was “awful” it had been a momentary “lapse in sense”.
Unsurprisingly, the relatives of Mrs Waites were up in arms over the decision.
“Begg has never shown any remorse or offered any apology to our family,” said Mrs Waites’ daughter.
Helen Adams said: “Three years is a paltry sentence and does not reflect the loss of a life taken in such horrific circumstances.
Mrs Adams is right: three years is a paltry sentence. Sadly, it’s quite high for cases such as these. In many car v bike ‘accidents’, erring, dangerous drivers tend to get off with just a caution when they kill a cyclist.