How Lethal is your Mobile Phone?

7th February 2017

Almost everybody now has a smart phone.  The phone and its features have become an integral part of almost everybody’s life.  Your calendar, your music, your emails, your contact lists and of course your phone are all incorporated in one single device.  In many respects, smart phones have become inseparable from owners.  In some respects, they are indispensable but in others, they can be lethal.

Recently, a truck driver in the United Kingdom was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment at Reading Crown Court for crashing into a car which resulted in the death of four innocent victims.  At the time of the crash, the driver acknowledged to police that he was checking his music playlist.  The consequences of this simple act are far reaching not only for the driver but more importantly for the victims who were all members of the same family and their friends.

In Ireland there is a law against holding a mobile phone.  Normally this simply relates to somebody taking a telephone call while holding the phone to their ear.  If such a horrific accident was to happen here however, this charge would be one of the least brought against the driver who would face in all likelihood, four counts of dangerous driving causing death.

People’s tolerance of misbehaviour on the roads is shrinking all the time.  How many times have you seen somebody coming towards you holding their phone and veering away from you before a collision takes place?

There is a responsibility on all motorists to ensure that at all times they act with proper care and attention to themselves, to other road users and to the public at large.  If such an accident like this were to happen in Ireland, then the sentence imposed by Reading Crown Court would seem light.  While families of people who have been killed in accidents as a result of the negligence of other motorists may be able to pursue the Insurance Company of the motorist who caused the accident, it will not bring back their loved ones.

While the law may have a place in such a story, all concerned would likely not have to consider the legal outcome and simply have everybody safe and well.

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