• England tough on texting while driving

    Date: 11.18.09 | by Judge Tom.

    Near Oxford, England, 24-year-old Victoria McBryde was on her way to a friend’s house when she got a flat tire. She stopped along the side of the road and waited for assistance from an auto club. Then she was rear-ended by a car going 60 miles-per-hour. Victoria died instantly.

    The driver of the other car was 22-year-old Phillipa Curtis. She survived the crash and was charged with Victoria’s death. Phillipa’s cell phone was found at the scene and given to the police. Within an hour of the crash, two dozen text messages were exchanged by Phillipa. The last, which was unopened, came within seconds of the collision. Phillipa’s blood alcohol level was zero.

    Victoria McBryde

    England has some of the toughest laws in Europe regarding texting while driving. Under British law, texting was a ”serious aggravating factor” that led to Victoria’s death. Texting is categorized the same as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Phillipa was convicted of death by dangerous driving. She faced a possibility of seven years in prison.

    Phillipa was given 21 months in prison and banned from driving for three years. The court took into consideration the lack of a criminal history and her remorse over the incident. Other countries including the United States are debating the dangers of texting while driving and appropriate ways to deal with the habit.

    VictoriaMcBrydesCar

    Victoria's car

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    3 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • joe
      Thu, 19 Nov 2009 at 11:16

      how can someone text and drive at the same time and pay attention to the road at the same time?

    • John Rob
      Thu, 26 Nov 2009 at 08:21

      Simple act of not texting can save car crash and lives. I am happy that I am not distracted when receiving in coming text messages. I use drivesafe.ly mobile application and I drive without losing concentration

    • bobby
      Wed, 23 Feb 2011 at 06:40

      21 months? what a complete joke, this country is soft i hate it. If someone did that to a member of my family I’d do the same to them on some dark road and walk out in 21 months knowing that they suffered the same fate.
      Dear Bobby: We hope you’d think long and hard before acting in this situation. Prison is no place for anyone, especially a teen or young adult. For an eye-opening, real-life story take a look at this website: http://www.buzzymartin.com/
      Buzzy’s story of three years behind bars and the lessons he learned and spreads to teens makes for a valuable book. His story “Don’t Shoot! I’m the Guitar Man” will soon be a major motion picture.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

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