TEXT MESSAGING WHILE DRIVING KILLS - We are all fully aware that operating a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle in the UK is illegal. While there are many laws governing what we do throughout our daily lives there are some things which really shouldn’t need legislation to tell us it’s wrong and using a mobile phone is one of them. It’s just plain common sense but like most things in life if a law wasn’t introduced to prevent it then most people would ignore common sense.
Regardless of how many laws are imposed upon us there will always be those who either perceive they are above the law or in fact that the particular law simply doesn’t apply to them because they know better.
In the news today, by the Daily Mail, a 20 year old woman was convicted of causing death by reckless driving. The woman in question is Nikita Ainley who callously arrived at court still unable to stop text messaging her friends. On the faithful day Nikita was driving to work and in the process sending a number of text messages to her friends about the night out before. The result is that she lost control of her vehicle and hit another car head on; resulting in the death of a grandmother, 68 year old Mary Rutherford.
Nikita Ainley, who was just 18 years old at the time of the accident, showed no remorse when the Judge, Stephen Ashurst, sentenced her to 3.5 years to a young offenders institute.
Judge Stephen Ashurst told her: “No message is so urgent that it requires someone to lose their life as a result of it. That, I’m afraid, is what you did on this occasion. It was your thoughtless use of a BlackBerry phone that has brought about a completely unnecessary death.”
Again, Nikita Ainley, showed no remorse when sentence was passed but did begin to sob once she was led away to be incarcerated.
The video of the daughter of Mary Rutherford making her statement to the press after the trial, above is a clear to all that she felt that Nikita showed little remorse over the death of her mother.
What amazes me is that Nikita Ainley only got 3.5 years for killing someone. Was it murder, well technically no but certainly this was a clear case of manslaughter in my view. Yes technically Mary’s death was by accident but when someone knowingly commits a criminal act which results in the death of another then surely the minimum that should apply is manslaughter or better still murder.
As the Judge clearly pointed out, no text message can be that important that it cannot wait until you either pull over or arrive at your destination.
Now you may be thinking that a manslaughter charge or even a murder charge is a little excessive, but there are some disturbing facts about this case that should have pushed for a much tougher sentence.
Following the accident Nikita Ainley told the police that she simply lost control as the road was wet and muddy and this loss of control was sudden and unexpected and that she had no chance to recover her vehicle from the skid. However, police investigated deeper and found that she had text messaged a friends not 48 seconds before someone had dialed the emergency services reporting the accident.
For me this is a clear case that she tried to hide her own actions and furthermore hide the fact that she was fully aware that it was illegal to use a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle. If I had been the prosecution I would have pushed for a much harder sentence and if I was the Judge, and able to do so by law, then I would of imposed a sentence of at least 15 years to life.
The next time you are driving your car and the phone rings ignored it – I guarantee whatever the call is about it can wait. The next time you are driving your car and you feel the need to text a friend, don’t – wait until you have finished your journey or pull over to a safe place. We all like to think that this will never happen to us but I would like you to consider a couple of things:
1. It could be you who kills an innocent person.
2. You could end up with Life Imprisonment if I was the Judge – you would get zero leniencies from me.