Saturday 17 September 2016 06.00 BST
Those who repeatedly use their phone behind the wheel need something stronger than safety campaigns
When Darrell Martin talked to the media about the death of his brother Lee, the soundbite that emerged was: “Dog walk text message killed my brother”. What actually killed Lee Martin, though, was the arrogance, stupidity, irresponsibility, lies and casual defiance of 30-year-old Christopher Gard.
Gard crashed into the 48-year-old father of two, who was taking part in a cycling event, because he didn’t consider that he needed to focus and concentrate while driving a van at 65 miles an hour. This was not because Gard hadn’t been warned that using a phone while driving was dangerous and illegal. He had been convicted of the offence at least six times before, the most recent just weeks before the crash when he had persuaded a magistrate not to take away his driving licence, promising to lock his phone in the boot from then on.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of Christopher Gards around. Accidents involving mobile phones are now so common that the police refer to them as one of the “fatal four”