A weekly newspaper has launched a bid to end what it calls the “madness” of mobile phone use while driving after another killer motorist was locked up.
Lorry driver Timothy Mason, from High Wycombe, was jailed for three years last month after he hit and killed a 69-year-old pensioner who was crossing the road.
Call records showed he had been on his phone for 12 minutes before the collision, only terminating the call 16 seconds after the point of impact.
Mason, 65, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at Aylesbury Crown Court.
Now the Bucks Free Press, which covered the case, has launched a ‘Hang Up!’ campaign designed to prevent further loss of life, with the support of Thames Valley Police and road safety charity Brake.
The paper said in an editorial: “Most parts of society wouldn’t dream of driving drunk or on drugs, but why do so many still think it is acceptable to use a phone?
“The team at the Bucks Free Press hear about the dangers and consequences far too often, but the tragic death of innocent pedestrian Hilary Haines was the final straw.
“That’s why this week, our team is launching the ‘Hang up!’ campaign in a bid to get the message across about the real dangers and call on people to end the madness now before more lives are lost.”
Thames Valley Road Safety Sergeant Chris Appleby said: “We are still seeing too many people deciding to take that risk to use their mobile phone whilst driving, whether looking at a text, making and receiving calls or even surfing the internet.
“Doing any of these will clearly impair and distract your ability to drive a vehicle safely.
“Research has shown that talking on a mobile phone can impair your ability to drive more than if you were driving whilst over the drink drive limit.
“You are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal collision texting as drink driving. You are much less aware of what’s happening around you and fail to see road signs, maintain a proper lane position or a steady speed.”
Free Press editor Samantha Harman told HTFP: “Following the sentencing of lorry driver Timothy Mason, who hit and killed pedestrian Hilary Haines, we decided to highlight the dangers of driving whilst using your phone.
“A split second can ruin lives. We are pleased that we’ve been able to work with Brake and Thames Valley Police on this and we hope drivers will heed the warnings.
“Thanks to our managing editor Andrew Colley, who organised this campaign.”