Fleet News

Christmas in jail for phone death driver

A COMPANY vehicle driver who caused a fatal accident after making a series of phone calls on his hand-held mobile phone while driving has been jailed for five years.

Kevin Moran, a security alarm installer driving his company van, was chatting to his wife on his hand-held mobile phone when he made an illegal right turn into the path of motorcyclist Gary Smith, who was riding along a dual carriageway, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Moran, a father-of-six from Rochdale, had been distracted by three calls – one a work call and two with his wife – and failed to react to 15 road signs.

During a 15-minute journey he had spent no less than six-and-a-half minutes on his phone and it was during the second call with his wife in November last year that he began to make the illegal right turn to join the M6.

A passing motorist even beeped his horn in an attempt to warn Moran not to turn right.

Smith, a father-of-two, was riding his motorbike in the opposite direction on a journey to visit his girlfriend. The pair crashed and Smith, of Atherton, Lancashire, died in hospital from his injuries.

Moran denied causing death by dangerous driving but was convicted by a jury last month. He maintained he had finished talking and that his phone was on the passenger seat when he made the turn.

Moran, who has two previous driving convictions for speeding, was also banned from driving for five years.

But Judge Henry Globe QC said: 'A motorist has lost his life because your attention was avoidably distracted by the use of a mobile phone. (This month) a new mobile phone law came into force which prohibits using any hand-held telephone while driving.

'The whole purpose is to reinforce what has been known for some time – that the use of a mobile phone while driving is dangerous and can lead to accidents of the most serious or fatal kind.'

The sentence means that Moran will spend this Christmas behind bars. It will also act as a sobering warning to fleet decision-makers and their drivers throughout the country who are getting to grips with a new ban on the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving, introduced on December 1. The case is thought to be the first conviction since the new law was introduced.

In October Fleet NewsNet revealed how a firm faced a £9 million damages bill after one of its drivers ran over a cyclist while using a mobile phone. The company representative, who has not been prosecuted, was on hold to his bank when he hit the cyclist (Fleet NewsNet, October 30).

In November, Fleet News launched its PhoneSafe campaign, designed to raise awareness of the new law among fleet operators. For all the fact about the law and articles see the link

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