Out of interest, what was the vehicle that the offender was driving? I can only find reference to the victim's 106.
If you’ve ever wondered what the point of phone applications blocking you from driving and texting are, just ask 21-year-old Philippa Curtis. Curtis, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, has been jailed for 21 months after smashing into a stationary car at 70mph while texting on her mobile phone, according to a report by the BBC. The …
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...to jump on the "lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key" bandwagon, but seriously, hitting a stationary car while travelling at 70mph is just nuts. Three years really isn't enough for that sort of behaviour. Killing someone through gross irresponsibility in a situation where you should know better (like driving a car at 70) should get a lot more than that.
In some ways her claims that she wasn't texting at the time actually make it worse. You mean you were paying full attention to the road and you *still* hit a stationary car?
Less than two years chokey and a driving ban of three years (to run concurrently?) for killing someone. Kill someone by driving into them and you'll do a lot less time than dropping a ton of metal on them. There's little difference in motivation in my eyes.
As someone who regularly cycles to work and does all those really 'tedious' things (like stopping at red lights, obeying the Highway Code and being aware of my surroundings and situation generally) this makes my blood boil, even as I'm checking my blind spot (again) for some f***tard in a 4x4 who thinks they can just 'sneak' through that narrow gap between me and an overtaking car.
Maybe she'll pay the price with damaged job prospects, life-long guilt and the like. Or maybe (as the very unfortunate pic on the BBC article suggests http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7865114.stm) she'll not care.
By the sounds of it she deserves what she got, and possibly more.
I tried finding a number in my phone once before the ban on using them while driving. I decided it was a damned bad idea pretty fast as I didn't want to talk to them more than I wanted to arrive at my destination still very much alive.
Texting that much (20 was it?) while driving as the report suggests is just ludicrous.
Pity we have to pay to have her locked up; reintroduce pillories for these fuckwads. And have her eat her fucking mobe.
Something similar for the stupid tarts who apply mascara at 80mph on the motorway, something I believed impossible until I had one such clueless tit pointed out to me on the M6 a few weeks back.
Evidently, your life and mine are only worth 21 months of this twats life. Good to know.
This kind of story completely pisses me off. I can guarantee you if it had been my wife killed in this accident, I'd be looking to pay off an insider in the prison system to take care of a certain someone.
That's it, 21 months in jail and a 3 year ban? How about a life time ban and at least 10 years in jail? It's about time drivers started to take responsibility for their actions. Every day I see drivers doing something totally stupid, today it was some idiot driving too fast, in snow, whilst on his mobile, whilst turning a corner on a crowded street. These people should not be given points on their licence, they should loose it and beforced to retake their test. Loose your licence twice and thats it, dont get it back, ever. Driving is not some sort of god give right.
I don't understand why anyone would ever text while driving. It's immeasurably worse than talking on the phone while driving, which is bad enough. I was watching the local news (North Carolina) last night, where they were saying a bill was on the table to make texting while driving illegal. I was shocked that it wasn't already. They interviewed a girl who said "it's good that they're passing this bill, but I'll probably still text while driving."
Why isn't it ever the idiot on the phone who dies in these crashes?
for killing someone, through gross stupidity, i'd have accepted speaking on the phone while driving 70mph. not legal, but understandable. But texting, ie taking your hands off the controls and eyes off the road while going 70!!
there isn't much i like about the American legal system, but i do agree with the felony/murder rules they have, if a death occurs while you are committing a crime (using a mobile while driving) it's automatically murder
The headline is unhelpful in that it implies she was found guilty of causing death by texting while driving. Leaving aside the ambiguity ("While I'm driving I think I might kill someone by sending them a text message") she was, as has been pointed out, found guilty of 'death by dangerous driving'.
Here you can find the definition of this offence. You can also see the guidelines by which the judges may operate. The maximum sentence is remarkably, ahem, stiff.
Call me old-fashioned but I think hanging is too good for this obnoxious, thoughtless twunt of a bitch. Just my opinion mind.
Obviously posting this anonymously...
Yes the person texting was incredibly stupid and dangerous. But to compare it to deliberately trying to kill someone is not a fair comparison. Whilst she deliberately did what she did, she didn't deliberately drive into the other car - well, at least I hope not.
@Almost Everyone Else
Probably out on my own on this one (and I expect the "yep" reply)... Whilst I agree this is a disgusting thing for anyone to have done, we do need to consider what prison is for. Is it for punishment (aka legalised revenge?) or is it to prevent someone who is a danger to the public from being able to re-offend?
I know its no condolence to the families of the victim, but I doubt this person will ever do something so incredibly stupid again and probably isn't a prison candidate (imho). What does a prison sentence do in these circumstances other than quench a desire for revenge? It isn't a deterrent. I don't text whilst driving because I'm worried I might go to jail, I don't do it because its stupid and dangerous. For me, prisons are about taking criminals off the street who have a high likelihood to re-offend and cause further harm.
I'm sure I would have a different opinion where a member of my family involved. But as an objective member of society I do think we need to consider what our prisons are for and what we are like as a civilisation.
I won't argue if the sentence is too short or not. But, why, WHY the hell do people think they can text while driving?
1) Obviously it's dangerous, they're not looking at the road for extended periods of time. I think everyone here knows that.
2) Texting is store-and-forward, it's not necessary to read a text the second it comes in and fire a response off to it. I've seen people (on a computer, not in the car) Instant Messaging, they will find it totally normal to IM + do something else, making for extended delays when they forget to check IMs and reply to them. I see no reason a text should be held to a higher standard. Seriously, at least wait til you're stopped at a stoplight or something, pull into a parking lot, etc.
Is there anywhere near Bury St Edmunds where it is legal to drive at 70, with or without a cellphone in front of your eyes? There wasn't when I lived in that area.
I'm only surprised she wasn't watching music videos on one of those sunvisor-mounted TV sets at the same time she was texting.
I got caught drinking and driving for the second time (yes, I know, jail would have been good for me) and I will never again get behind the wheel after a drink, and I was given 2 years 9 months ban. This b**** kills someone and only gets 3 years? British law at its best.
She should never again be allowed to get behind the wheel.
Why does murder by motor vehicle attract such pathetic sentencing? Is the life worth less because it was ended by a twat in a car? If you seriously want to get rid of someone then the judiciary has just given you the best method for minimum chokey. This silly bitch should be sent down for 10 minimum - that's what the twat speeding through the centre of Edinburgh got when he mowed down the person standing next to me and pissed off. What's the difference?
Sadly, modern society ranks the purported "right" to drive a car and the "right" to fiddle with your phone higher than they rank the value of a human life. If you ever want to kill someone don't use a gun, don't use a knife, just run over them with a car and even if you do go to court you'll get off with a trivial sentence.
"Curtis, who was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving in December, had told Oxford Crown Court she felt there were times when using a phone while driving was acceptable. "
This alone should be enough to lock the clueless bitch up and throw the key away. Disgusted only begins to describe how I feel about this.
At very least, I'd not only have given her jail time and the driving ban (which will, as someone has already pointed out, no doubt run concurrently) but I'd also have made her resit an extended driving test, both theory and practical, and add, say, 6 points on her license for good measure - should help focus what little bit of mind she possesses.
Still, nice to know that I feel like killing someone then I can do it in my car and get a slapped wrist rather than risk quality time in a pound-me-in-the-arse prison if I use more conventional methods like knife or gun.
Flames, because she truly deserves to burn in hell.
Even 21 *years* in the slammer won't bring back the dead woman. I somehow don't think that the texting girl is ever going to sleep soundly at night. At least two lives destroyed, likely more.
Punishment for disobeying a 'rule' and being stupid, does not have to be matched to that of an evil murderer.
Better would be to make these 'stupid' people realise just how dangerous this kind of thing is.
Human life is only worth a few pennies these days - after all, there's nearly 7 billion of them, so they're as common as dirt. We all know that had she defrauded an insurance company, pirated a few DVDs, hacked a government database or downloaded some dirty Simpsons cartoons, she'd have gone away for much longer, because then she would have committed the monstrous crime of doing something our Dear Leaders didn't want her to do. But merely killing people? Pfffff... that's doing the government a favour these days!
So yes, the sentence was indeed for texting while driving, since that's something that's been high on the no-no list lately, and the Great Government needs to set an example. As for the death, well... I believe in modern parlance they call that "collateral damage".
Rest in peace, Victoria McBride. At least you don't have to live through the constant erosion of human value any more.
People seem somehow surprised by this turn of events.
Believe me, if you want to go on a random murder spree, DON'T run through a shopping centre with a 16-ounce hammer smacking people in the head. They'll call you a nutter and lock you up for a very long time.
Instead, drive along the road OUTSIDE a shopping centre with 16-hundred-pounds of motorised metal smacking people in the head (or any other bits they're careless enough to leave in your way). The automobile lobby has far more clout than the hammer lobby (no pun intended !) so it'll be treated as 'just one of those unfortunate side-effects of progress' and you'll be out in no time (ten and a half months, perhaps).
Mine's the one with the car keys, the bottle of vodka, and a wireless electronic device for surfing online pawn whilst 'on the go'.
No here claim that she was paying attention does actually make it **slightly** better.
If you are not prepared to give driving 100% concentration then you are driving irresponsibly and carelessly.
Flames for reg editors "jailed for texing while driving" is a poxy headline. She got done for careless driving. Next time there is a murder you'll likely write a headline: "Man gets jailed for waking up in the morning", because he then went out and bought a gun and shot someone. He wouldn't have done that if he had just stayed in bed, therefore he really got done for getting up in the morning. Same logic as yours.
A moment's inattention can be a dangerous thing.
I remember vividly at night coming up to a corner where two lanes merged with a car right up my arse, and having to get out into the lane where the car was. There were crashbarriers to my right and i was trying to get 1 lane to the left; because that was the way the road was. I was watching the car behind me. I gave up being polite and just pulled out with not much room to spare as far as the road markings went. That was quite lucky because there was a WHOLE FAMILY walking on the side of the road inside the crash barriers...including a pushchair. Father; 2 kids; mother; pushchair. I missed the pushchair by -I would guess- 30cm and I was going -another guess- 60Mph. If I had been just a tiny bit more polite on the road, I would have smeared the whole family. As it happened, I took the legally dodgy course of "fuck him, I'm coming out anyway".
Either choice could have ended in disaster and deaths, but I was lucky. That's the first one that came to mind, but there's loads more.
The news story- it doesn't state whether the woman was texting while colliding; and it doesn't state that she had received/sent the 20 texts while driving. Just "Curtis admitted sending text messages while driving" and "The court was told she sent and received more than 20 text messages before the crash."
The first point is that the story is phrased like Philippa Curtis was texting madly throughout her journey and paying no attention to the road whatsoever. This may or may not be true, and that's up to a jury to decide; having weighed the evidence. The story feels like a cut&paste from the Sun, lacking only the photo of the defendant caught halfway through a blink with maybe bags under the eyes added (although the BBC story does manage a splendidly unflattering photo).
The second point is that anyone who drives a car is milliseconds away from disaster all the time. It probably isn't going to happen on that particular journey, but the difference between a smooth journey and an utter fuckup can occur in considerably under your reaction time and can depend upon an almost unlimited amount of random factors. "There but for the grace of dog" etc.
If Philippa Curtis was texting madly and paying no attention to the road; then she deserves to burn. Victoria McBryde is lost to the world, along with whatever she was going to do with her life; not to mention the effect upon friends, family and everyone who knew her.
I was really unimpressed with the article. C'mon Reg, at least give the impression of impartiality. (Except, of course, articles about iPhones etc)
Jeez... Forget restitution and the rehabilitation of otherwise productive members of society. Just lock em up for 2 years. Make us innocent people pay for the jackarse's bed, tele, food, and housing. That should teach her good! Who needs a drivers license when you can simply get a free ride from the taxpayers.
Great job dipwads.
Only 21 months for what is essentially homicide (however involuntary)?
Open season for anyone with a car then. Commit murder, get out in under 2 years. Hell, if you use a new car you're test driving, you don't even get blood and brains on your own.
It really is open season on cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians out there, isn't it?
Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.
In some cases nature should be assisted in carrying out the last portion of the above quote. The one that provides the natural selection factor.
What is the point of text messaging via telephone? 99.99% (or more) of all such messages are sent phone-to-phone. Why not just use the phone to make a phone call?
If you must send text, send email. A side benefit is a real keyboard ...
Seriously, I know virtually everyone does the "texting" thing, but I don't get it. What's the point? What's the attraction? What's the benefit? Is there a serious use for the technology?
From my perspective, making the technology available to the driver of the car in question and other, similar idiots, is tantamount to maintaining an attractive nuisance ... Lawyers always follow the money; eventually a big telco is going to get sued over texting following a case like this.
This is just simply wrong. This woman killed another person whilst in control of a lethal device (i.e. a motor car). The charge should be manslaughter at the very least and she should be ordered to provide meaningful compensation to the dead woman's family.
Until the legal systems actually starts commanding justice in cases such as this the incidents will continue to recur. I hope the driving ban starts when she is released and not when the prison time starts!
...are a good idea. It would force the middle classes on to public transport. Then perhaps the government would do something practical to improve it.
Seriously though, why is driving sen as a right not a priveledge ? That attitue is why this driver was allowed to kill someone and be back on the road in three years. It's almost as though banning them from behind the wheel is seen as more draconian than prison.
... is nonsense. To quote this case specifically, the woman said she thought it acceptable to text and drive as she felt she could do both and hasn't actually held her hands up and accepted the blame. Despite the guilty verdict and sentence
Also, in London, a guy has been given a 12 months sentence and a three year ban for killing a cyclist whilst talking on his mobile and driving.
Nobody is saying these people are down there with premeditated murderers, but it just shows that the UK legal system in general holds a life in scant regard. Your life is only felt to be significant if you are murdered. An unlawful killing of someone is an unlawful killing, period.
If as a result of your own calculated irresponsibility, negligence or direct actions you take a life, your sentence should reflect this. People continue to flought the law on mobile phone usage because there is not enough deterrent. Spot fines and points mean nothing, and a maximum sentence of 21 months for causing a death doesn't register. It is a manageable risk to the culprits as it stands and that needs to change.
only 2 years in jail for taking someones life and getting to use a phone while driving?
I fancy me some real life GTA! whats the worse that can happen? I'll ramp the highstreet pavement, take out as many people as possible and when the car finally grinds to a halt from being choked up with bodies, I'll explain to the cops that I was on my phone at the time.
There really do need to be stiffer penalties for poor driving, especially for drunken and phone related fatalities. While some cases include mitigating factors, for example if the victim was drunk and stumbled in front of car (obviously not the case here), this particular case is more or less equivalent to murder as she intentionally made a conscious decision to engage in an unnecessary activity which resulted in death and general mayhem. In an ideal world such gross stupidity would be thoroughly punished, however in the real world even massive fines and jailtime are unlikely to deter people like this, they will just continue in their destructive behavior until it gets them or someone else killed. In example, I live in the United States and penalties for drunk driving are quite stiff in my state, however it does absolutely nothing to stop the hordes of drunken teenage boys speeding across city streets and parking lots at two or three times the speed limit. They just don't care.
21 months for killing someone? Out in 12 or less? pathetic. She should have had 5 years hard labour, no parole, life ban from driving.
Oh, R.A.L. it wasn't murder (no premeditation) it could [possibly] be considered manslaughter but was most certainly causing death by gross negligence. Hmm, make that jail term 10 years hard labour.
This is where the hand-wringing nancies comes out and say "Ah *wring, wring* but the law makes no allowance for out come *wring, wring* we must understand that she is a victim too. *wring, wring*" To which I reply: BULL-SHIT! A car is a deadly weapon and it should be treated as such. Someone firing a gun in the air or running through the streets with a sword would face a proper spell in chokey, the same should apply for ANYONE doing similar things in a car.
Oh I could go on. We need mandatory eye-tests and health-tests for all drivers (say, once every 2 years). Mandatory re-tests once every 5 or 10 years. Stepped licenses (sub 1l, 1l - sub1.8l) with only those people passing a much tougher advanced test being allowed a car with greater than 1.8l capacity. We need our traffic police back and swinging penalties for all the idiots driving without their lights working (there is no excuse for this, check them!)
And icing on the cake? Car drivers must have held a powered two-wheel vehicle license for two years before they are allowed to apply for their test. That will teach them to CHECK THEIR BLOODY BLIND SPOTS! Motorcycles already have stepped licenses and this seems to have had some effect, but that are still 20 times more likely to appear on the KSI stats than a car driver. Either that is the nature of the beast, or we need to figure out how better to educate them in riding responsibly (or, just possibly, fixing our roads and road-furniture).
And before having a powered two-wheel vehicle license, you must have held a cycle license for two years as well. And by that I mean some kind of Highway Code test and proficiency check. I don't expect cyclists to be taxed, but I do expect them to be insured (which is why we need traffic police back - random stop-and-check). Cyclists are responsible for an awful lot of accidents and their victims should be able to get recompense. As for the red-light jumpers? Just string them up as a warning to others.
Just lifetime ban her from driving.
In this day and age, this is a serious inconvenience but liveable (unlike being, oh, I dunno, run over and killed).
Jail time beyond 21 months is punishment and that won't bring the dead back, so long enough in chokey to give her time to think about her stupidity. After that? Well, she's shown she's incapable of operating a car, so remove the license. She can't kill someone again with a car if she doesn't drive.
And, from her POV, she'll be able to text as much as she wants.
But a three year ban is worthless. Life. She doesn't deserve the right to drive.
If you can't stop in the distance you can see then yuo are going too fast.
If you smooshed the family it would have been your fault and it could have been avoided by looking ahead rather than the 5m in front of you.
People are stupid and think that glancing down to text for 5 seconds or so is OK, it's not, the woman is going to suffer forever with guilt (if she's vaguely human), prison is not for her - it's a punishment to show the victims familiy that someone cares about their loss and a deterrent for others.
No amount of restitution will bring her victim back, and no amount of rehabilitation will prevent others doing what she did.
@3 years driving ban?
Yes... 2 years 9 months for the second drinking and driving offence is more than fair, in fact as you've shown complete disregard for the law twice, the liklyhood is that you'll do it again, personally I'd give you a much longer ban (and a third strike would mean no licence ever again).
Punishment should be about prevention, you can;t fix a crime that has happened - your previous punishment had no effect, so you should be nailed to the wall, you have no excuse for the second time.
She got a 3 year ban, this is not long enough, and depending on the status of the current law the 3 year ban may start immediately, rather than when she gets out of prison, so it really could only be a few months ban (the law is changing to make bans start after any prison sentence).
Philippa is unlikely to kill someone else while texting, but if she does (or anything like it) then let's hope the law take a very dim view of her, she made one stupid, fatal, irrepairable mistake, some would say that you are the bigger criminal (you were just luckier and didn't kill anyone either time).
btw. when I was 9 my best friend (also 9) was killed on the way to school by a drunk driver, so AC maybe you got away with much more than just a light ban.
I think most of the commenter's have been saying that 21 months jail is not enough, on the basis that the three year driving ban is an absolutely negligible punishment.
Locking her up for life may not be a good use of tax-payers money, but this really does not send out much of a message to those like her who still use their phones while driving - if this is all she gets for causing a death, nothing is going to happen to "me" - "I'm not going to kill anyone, so even if the Police stop me all they will do is tick me off."
Punishment for causing death by dangerous driving is not a sensible deterrent - if only the title were correct, and she had indeed been jailed for texting, without the need for the unnecessary death.
FFS people, its not like she was trying to kill people. She wasn't brandishing her car under the nose of an old lady to steal a purse. She didn't wave her car in the air to look tough. So stop all the analogies to a deliberate attempt at murder.
However, she was being bloody stupid and should suffer the consequences.
Many things, but one of them is punishment. There will be the punishment in that she will be in prison for 12 months or so and also the punishments associated with having been sentenced to prison for more than 12 months (jobs, travel etc.).
Another very important one is that for whatever time she spends in prison she will be completely unable to kill anyone whilst texting in control of a car. You have seen the reports, she believes that texting whilst driving can be acceptable. Even in court where she should be saying whatever it takes to get a lighter sentence she still basically says "The law may say texting whilst driving is wrong and dangerous, but in my vast experience and with my overwhelming intellect I disagree". To me this at least suggests that she is a candidate for repeat offense.
To make this point more we need to remember that she is not saying that she used to think texting whilst driving could be OK but now she has seen the error of her ways, or that she made an error of judgement in doing so, she was saying at her trial that she believes (present tense, even given the stark consequences of doing so) texting whilst driving can be OK.
Over here on the other side of the pond, New York State is seriously looking at legislation that not only prohibits texting while driving, but also much further. There is even talk of a complete cell-phone ban, including when using hands-free. Most of this is coming in light of a very tragic accident almost 2 years ago when 3 graduating seniors from a high school were killed in a head-on accident with a truck after their SUV crossed into oncoming traffic. The proponents of the law point to the fact that the driver's phone sent a text message just seconds before the impact (and of course the driver must have been texting on their phone, not one of the others in the car).
[As you can guess from my tone, I don't think that was the cause -- I put it down to the piss-poor driver training in NYS: the driver had just passed a vehicle when her car swerved back across the road -- sounds more like she over corrected when pulling back in and lost it.]
While I agree something has to be done, I get really worried about knee-jerk responses. The real answer isn't in prohibiting everything, but in better education. Telling someone "Don't do that" only teaches them not to get caught. Teaching them them why it is a bad thing has a much better result.
I'm afraid I'd have to agree over the issue of jail time.
3 years locked out of society has serious ramifications. I believe a lifetime driving ban should be automatic for those who kill through gross neglegance, but I know if I were in the slammer for 3 years, I'd be almost as scared of coming back out to the tattered ruins that used to be my life.
The job would be gone. Getting another with a mysterious 3 year blank space on my CV would be virtually impossible without having to explain, and that's NEVER going to look good in an interview.
What about my house? What would happen to the rent payments? After that, what about all my furniture and possesions?
Chances are, I'd return to society with no money, no home, and no job prospects.
That I'd consider a pretty hefty punishment.
People look at prison time as some finite block with a beginning and an end, but what many don't realise is that an experience such as that never leaves you, and will leave an indelible mark on the rest of your life.
Unless of course you're one of these benefits scrounging counsil estate lard-ball single mums, then it'll just be like having an extended babysitter.
Again career criminals (a dying breed) look upon it almost as a forced business vacation with training thrown in.
People like that shouldn't be jailed. They should be press-ganged into hard time breaking rocks and fixing roads, with both their food and oxygen strictly rationed.
Perhaps then, after three years of sweating out all that benefits bought gravy, these people might be able to perform some useful function within our society. The kids would have also had a better upbringing.
Perhaps the point I'm making is that if you have something, anything to lose, jailtime will take it from you. Generally, those who have something to lose have earned it.
So prison is an inconvenience to those who never contributed to society in the first place, but a life destroyer for those who have.
It's an unbalanced method of punishment, and was never meant to be used as such. Only as a means of removing continually dangerous elements from our society
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