England tough on texting while driving
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.
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.