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Court told that death crash driver was fiddling with satnav


Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 25 Jul 2013

pocketgpsworld.com
A court has been told that driver Victoria McClure, 38, was fiddling with her satnav in the moments before she collided with a cyclist.

The accident, which occurred on a straight strict of the A4, near Twyford in Berkshire, killed Anthony Wilson. Mrs McClure admitted causing death by careless driving but denies the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

A jury, sitting at Reading Crown Court, was told that she had been using the zoom function on the carís built-in satellite navigation system. Evidence from witnesses and measurements at the scene suggest that Mrs McClue had more than 18 seconds in which to see Mr Wilson, and to take avoiding action.

Matthew Walsh, prosecuting, said that the evidence indicates she was effectively driving blind for that period of time and that her admission of causing death by careless driving did not go far enough, it was dangerous driving.

The trial is expected to last three days.



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Comments
Posted by sussamb on Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:22 am Reply with quote

Lesson for us all there ...

I've also attended incidents where mobile phone use has injured people, in some cases seriously including one death. Still amazes me why some people still take the risk but I guess they're obliviously to the possible consequences ... or simply don't care.


Where there's a will ... there's a way.

 
Posted by technik on Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:42 pm Reply with quote

It's not just sat-navs that drivers fiddle with.

I see 'slow' drivers everyday, not keeping up with the traffic flow, because you can see they are fiddling around with something, or talking to passengers instead of looking where they are going!


GO 620, Tomtom Android EU,
Garmin 2548LMT-D; 2599LMT-D

 
Posted by sussamb on Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:52 pm Reply with quote

That's true for sure Wink


Where there's a will ... there's a way.

 
Posted by neilparmar on Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:54 am Reply with quote

So, does this mean we will need to drive a car with no driver interaction what so ever, no changing radio channels, pressing the green call accept button onon the car hands free kit, never to look in the rear view mirror for more than 2 secs etc?

Fully get the taking your eye off the road bit, BUT taking your eye, concentration off the road for no matter how many seconds is part of life, you cant tell me that no one takes a split second off your concentration to change a radio button / channel etc?

We, and I certainly don't have a co-driver, like the police to change my radio channel button etc.

Yes, this was a serious accident, but I'm sure the driver was not intended to do this deliberately.

"technik", why are you looking at other drivers behaviours when you should be concentrating on the road?


 
Posted by jonrome on Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:01 am Reply with quote

For a short while Aviva were advertising their safe driving app, the driver was seen with his mobile phone attached to the windscreen. I got no acknowledgment of the email I sent to their press officer pointing out the dtupidity/illegality but I haven't seen the ad lately


 
Posted by mollyeyre on Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:40 am Reply with quote

neilparmar Wrote:
So, does this mean we will need to drive a car with no driver interaction what so ever, no changing radio channels, pressing the green call accept button onon the car hands free kit, never to look in the rear view mirror for more than 2 secs etc?

Fully get the taking your eye off the road bit, BUT taking your eye, concentration off the road for no matter how many seconds is part of life, you cant tell me that no one takes a split second off your concentration to change a radio button / channel etc?

We, and I certainly don't have a co-driver, like the police to change my radio channel button etc.

Yes, this was a serious accident, but I'm sure the driver was not intended to do this deliberately.


Gee I reckon the poor cyclist would be SO happy to know that this wasn't deliberate!!! 18 seconds is a heck of a long time - at 40 miles per hour the distance travelled would be more than twice the length of a football pitch.


 
Posted by G1LIW on Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:16 am Reply with quote

I misread the Original Article in this, apologies. She has been charged with Causing Death by Dangerous Driving; she's admitted careless driving. I've changed the post below to reflect this.

Oh, and a somewhat expanded report on this ongoing trial may be found here:

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3823515.ece


In the final analysis, all vehicle drivers on the roads - private and public alike - are required to meet certain standards during both theoretical and practical driving tests, before they may be issued a licence to drive a road-going vehicle on their own: This is called competency.

Such competency must continue to exist, and be exercised when behind the wheel of a road-going vehicle, from that point onwards, for the rest of the time you retain your driving licence.

Over the years, the government, police, motoring organisations, and even the popular media, have made a point to emphasise that you should not be messing with anything, be it a drink, cheeseburger, or mobile electronic device, that takes your attention away from the road when you are behind the wheel; I think it's fair to say that this message has been acknowledged by most sensible people, and is therefore one of the foundation stones of driving competency, and thus careful driving.

Now, the law regarding the offence of Careless Driving is quite clear, and the CPS guidelines on this are equally clear; to quote:

Quote:
The offence of driving without due care and attention (careless driving) under section 3 of the RTA 1988 is committed when the defendants driving falls below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver - section 3ZA(2) of the RTA 1988.

The maximum penalty is a level 5 fine. The court must also either endorse the drivers licence with between 3 and 9 penalty points (unless there are "special reasons" not to do so), or impose disqualification for a fixed period and/or until a driving test has been passed.

Reference:
http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/road_traffic_offences_guidance_on_prosecuting_cases_of_bad_driving/#a30


More serious of course, is Causing Death By Dangerous Driving:

Quote:
The offence of causing death by dangerous driving is committed under section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988) when the suspects driving is a cause or factor in the death of another person and the driving was dangerous. By "dangerous" we mean within the meaning of section 2A of the RTA 1988 i.e. the standard of driving falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.

The examples given in relation to dangerous driving also apply to this offence. See examples listed under the Dangerous Driving section.

It is an offence triable only on indictment and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment, by virtue of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, and/or an unlimited fine.

The court must disqualify the driver from driving for at least 2 years, unless special reasons are found for not disqualifying (in which case it must endorse the drivers licence with 3 11 penalty points, again, unless there are special reasons not to do so). An extended retest is also mandatory.

Reference:
http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/road_traffic_offences_guidance_on_prosecuting_cases_of_bad_driving/#a23


In both offences, note the phrase describing competency of the driver: "it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous."

A specific example of dangerous driving in the examples they make reference to, includes this entry:

Quote:
driving whilst avoidably and dangerously distracted such as whilst reading a newspaper/map, talking to and looking at a passenger, selecting and lighting a cigarette or by adjusting the controls of electronic equipment such as a radio, hands-free mobile phone or satellite navigation equipment;


These two items are the key items that must be proven in both offences; it follows that if a death occurs from such appalling driving, a charge under s1 RTA'88 should be levelled, and this has been done.

It's up to the jury now. Let's hope they do the right thing.


Roger, G1LIW
Google Pixel 3a XL Android Smartphone | SatNav Sygic for Android | Waze for Android | CamerAlert for Android | Blog http://rogersblant.blogspot.com/

 
Posted by solongmarriane on Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:31 am Reply with quote

She was found guilty of the dangerous driving charge...

http://www.ctc.org.uk/news/driver-who-killed-anthony-hilson-convicted-of-causing-his-death-dangerous-driving


 
Posted by G1LIW on Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:41 am Reply with quote

Ah, thanks for that update. While I note that she's yet to be formally sentenced by the Judge, and has been handed an interim driving ban, I'm in two minds about the opinion expressed by CTC on sentencing in cases like this; jail time has a couple of main intentions:

Firstly, it provides punishment (of a form) by severe restrictions on liberty on the guilty, and the chance to assist the guilty in reforming the way they behave (IF such retraining and/or counselling is actually available inside prisons, of course).

Secondly, it provides a limited form of closure (the "they got what was coming to them" effect) to the relatives of those lost by the actions of the guilty.

By failing to jail those who offend to the point of causing the reckless death of another human, we send a mixed message, along the lines of "while what you did was bang out of order, it really only warrants a slap on the wrist".

And that's just plain wrong.


Roger, G1LIW
Google Pixel 3a XL Android Smartphone | SatNav Sygic for Android | Waze for Android | CamerAlert for Android | Blog http://rogersblant.blogspot.com/

 
Posted by gem on Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:09 am Reply with quote

Sadly quite a few cyclists have died in road crashes this summer.

I guess the driver deserves the "dangerous driving" conviction if she really did take most of her concentration off the road for 4-18 seconds.

It was a straight section of road and therefore perhaps she did. Hence the trial outcome of guilty is probably the right one.

It would be nice to know if she has a history of poor driving etc as I see that all the time on the roads.

Incidentally just yesterday a "professional" cyclist was weaving over the dedicated cycle lane white line (which was about 1 metre wide) onto the main traffic lane. There were no potholes nor drains which might have been his reason. If a vehicle bumped into him then should he be a contributing factor?


 
Posted by G1LIW on Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:29 am Reply with quote

Personally speaking, yes, I believe so. Makes me bloody glad that I've got CCTV fitted with views both inside and outside my bus when I'm driving, as I know that anyone doing something stupid to cause a collision with my bus is going to have their stupidity caught on at least one, probably more, evidence-quality cameras.


Roger, G1LIW
Google Pixel 3a XL Android Smartphone | SatNav Sygic for Android | Waze for Android | CamerAlert for Android | Blog http://rogersblant.blogspot.com/

 
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