A driver who fell asleep at the wheel and killed two cyclists had been “continuously” texting prior to the collision.
Robert Palmer, 32, mowed down Andrew McMenigall, 47, and Toby Wallace, 36, who died almost instantly in the crash on the A30 in Cornwall in July last year.
The incident happened at around 8.30am when the night time delivery driver, for Frys Logistics in Launceston, was “exhausted” because instead of resting during the day he had been working on vehicle maintenance for the firm, reports The Telegraph.
He also had been using his mobile phone to send text messages while carrying out deliveries in the articulated lorry between Cornwall and Weston-super-Mare for the discount store Lidl.
Jailing Palmer, the judge Christopher Harvey Clark QC said: "The evidence is at the time when this accident occurred you had almost certainly fallen asleep, but it is equally clear you were disregarding the rules of the road by texting continuously and it would seem at length.”
The judge said that Palmer had failed to take sufficient rest and, although it was not a primary cause of the accident, he had been inappropriately and illegally using his mobile telephone.
He added: "You were using it habitually. People who use a handheld mobile telephone and text while driving carry a terrible risk to other road users.”
At an earlier hearing at Truro Crown Court, Palmer, of Grimscott, Cornwall, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and a further charge of dangerous driving in relation to a similar crash weeks later.
He was jailed for eight-and-a-half years and was also banned from driving for 10 years.