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Four years for killer driver on a mobile.

number9number9 Posts: 440
edited July 2008 in Campaign
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hamp ... 270751.stm

Gratuitous insertion of helmet comment obligatory.


I never, ever understand how driving bans run concurrent with a
custodial sentence- YOU CAN'T DRIVE IN PRISON!!!


A motorist who was texting on her mobile phone when she hit and killed
a cyclist has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Jordan Wickington, 19, died from head injuries when he went through a
red light and was struck by Kiera Coultas' car in Southampton in
February 2007.


Coultas had earlier been found guilty at Southampton Crown Court of
causing death by dangerous driving.


The 25-year-old from Hythe, Hampshire, was banned from driving for
five years.


Following the crash, Mr Wickington, of Netley, Hampshire, who had not
been wearing a helmet, was taken to Southampton General Hospital where
he later died.


Sgt Alison West, of Hampshire Constabulary, recommended drivers
switched off their mobile phones during journeys.


"It's pretty routine nowadays at the scene of these serious or fatal
accidents to seize drivers' mobile phones, and to have them analysed
to see if the phone has had anything to do with the driving standards
involved," she said.


"In this particular incident, it transpired from a phone analysis that
there was phone use close to the time of the incident."

Posts

  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    And who says RLJing is safer?

    I'm not sure about the custodial sentence bit and I'm usually on here bleating about people getting off lightly. Surely her sentence is only for using her mobile phone. If she hadn't been texting and he had jumped the red light, and she had hit/killed him, would she have been charged with anything in the first place? If he had stopped at the red light he'd still be alive.
  • Coultas admitted her BMW was doing 45mph in a 30mph limit when she drove across a junction in Southampton shortly after 7am on February 7 last year

    Speeding as well!
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  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    I'll repeat myself.

    If he had stopped at the red light he'd still be alive.
  • number9number9 Posts: 440
    The red light jumping is an irrelevance. It could just as easily been a child crossing the road. Green means proceed with caution, not break the speed limit whilst texting your husband about a sandwich.
  • elliebellieb Posts: 436
    number9 wrote:
    The red light jumping is an irrelevance.

    No. It's not an irrelevance, but it is not the most important causal factor. However, sadly, in this case it does take two to make an accident and once again it is the cyclist who pays the price.
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    ignore the phone and the bike.

    someone who stopped, looked both ways, then crossed, was hit by a lady in a car doing 45 in a 30 zone

    Thats 1 and a half time the speed limit...so equivalent to doing 115mph in a 70 zone, which is immediate licence loss, without having an accident. Add an accident on top of that and the book would be well and truly thrown.

    dangerous driving.
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • squiredsquired Posts: 1,216
    Dangerous driving yes, but if it is an open road the cyclist should have been able to see a car approaching at 45mph. Maybe he was used to them yielding because that seems to be what sometimes happens when cyclists jump reds. In this case the girl wasn't even looking at the road, so didn't see him.

    Blame should be apportioned to her, but the cyclist was stupid (and it cost him). The only problem is that one stupid act can be more costly than another.
  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    You could easily say forget the speeding and the phone. Say she had been doing 30mph and hadn't been on her mobile. Who's to say the outcome wouldn't have been the same? I'm all for stronger sentencing for drivers, but I feel that 4 years is a little harsh considering the RLJing fact.

    People spend lots of time on here going on about RLJers with some people defending it as "safer" than stopping. OK she was breaking the law, but not any more so than drivers I see everyday (sometimes worse). I just don't think she deserves 4 years in prison when she was not the only person at fault.

    I also don't think that this case will be doing the perception of cycling and cyclists any good either. I bet that there's a huge amount of people out there seeing this in a similar way to me.

    Like I said, if he hadn't jumped the lights he would still be alive.
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    but not any more so than drivers I see everyday (sometimes worse). I just don't think she deserves 4 years in prison when she was not the only person at fault.

    I agree that her behaviour is far from uncommon, and I think I agree that if there had not been the current campaign on mobile phones, she would not have gotten 4 years.

    However, it must be within the law to have that sentence, and if an example was made of her, then tough. Like you say....if all ROAD USERS (yes..including cyclists) were properly punished for the various legal infractions, then it would all be rosy. The legal system would be fair, with criminals being given proper sentences for their crimes judges handing out CONSISTENT punishments. There wouold be flowers at the side of the road and global warming would not be happening.

    However. she was committing a crime. was caught. was punished. tough.

    might be unfair of me, but lets face it, its an unfair world. :D:D

    gosh im a cheery b*gger eh! :twisted:
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 22,614
    EMD makes a very good point about what the out come would have been if she had been concentrating and going at 30 and had hit the RLJing cyclist.......

    One suspects it would have been a slap on the wrist for the cyclist, certainly it would be for the driver of an RLJing car ( the what would you do if it were a car not a bike works both ways...)
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • There are a fair few comments about RLJ'ing in this case. However, although I won't condone it, the manner in which it was done does matter, and although the reports are very scant on detail I think the jury must have taken the circumstances of the RLJ into consideration.

    Take these examples

    - a RLJ to go straight on at a cross roads, which causes a cyclist to be hit whilst crossing the road perpendicular which was 'on green'
    - a RLJ which is to turn left and the cyclist is hit a few seconds later by a car driving dangerously close to the LH kerb
    - a RLJ which is to turn left and the cyclist is hit 20 seconds later by a car driving dangerously close to the LH kerb

    As I said, I don't know which is closest to the actual incident, but in the last example the RLJ is not a significant contributing factor.

    We need the full facts to make reasoned conclusions to the effect this verdict has on road traffic case law.
    Why the name? Like the Hobbit I don't shave my legs
  • ricadusricadus Posts: 2,379
    I also don't think that this case will be doing the perception of cycling and cyclists any good either. I bet that there's a huge amount of people out there seeing this in a similar way to me.

    I suspect that's one reason that story became a news item.

    However the jury was there do decide whether the driver had broken the law not whether her behavior can be excused by balancing it with someone's else's offense in the same incident. She was speeding and on her mobile phone while driving, and duly caused a fatality. Whether or not the cyclist *should* have been there is of minor importance since he was not causing her to drive that fast or use her phone.
  • cee wrote:
    someone who stopped, looked both ways, then crossed, was hit by a lady in a car doing 45 in a 30 zone

    Except you don't know that's how it happened. I certainly haven't read any witness reports to suggest that the cyclist stopped and looked both ways and then proceeded to cycle through a red light into the path of a car that had right of way.
    Are you suggesting this was suicide? :idea:
    cee wrote:
    Thats 1 and a half time the speed limit...so equivalent to doing 115mph in a 70 zone, which is immediate licence loss, without having an accident.

    Firstly I believe that she was asked in court if she had been travelling at 45mph, and she replied that she could have been, which the newspapers have now turned into fact :roll: , so she might not have been travelling at 1.5 times the speed limit.
    Secondly, it is not equivalent to driving at 115mph in a 70 zone (I'd argue that 45mph in a built up area is almost certainly riskier than doing 115mph on an empty motorway) due to the laws of physics and nature of the roads that display these differing limits.
    Sensationalist drivel.
    Thirdly, 115mph does not equate to instant licence loss. I can think of two cases where a driver was caught speeding in excess of 115mph and neither lost their licence because of it, and I'm sure there are plenty more.

    It's not that I think the driver is totally innocent in all this, after all she was driving in excess of the speed limit (actual speed unknown), and she was reading a text at the time (by her own admission), I just think doubling the maximum sentance of DD due to the fact that an unlit cyclist in dark clothes decided to ignore a red light and cycle across a stream of traffic is perhaps a little unfair.
    Wheelies ARE cool.

    Zaskar X
  • protoproto Posts: 1,482
    Jurors heard that Jordan, who lived in Woolston Road, Netley, had momentarily stopped at the traffic lights but then went through them when they were red.

    Source: http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/display.var.2001018.0.driver_sending_text_killed_cyclist.php

    Not quite the same as just ploughing straight through a crossroads without a care in the world.
  • proto wrote:
    Jurors heard that Jordan, who lived in Woolston Road, Netley, had momentarily stopped at the traffic lights but then went through them when they were red.

    Source: http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/display.var.2001018.0.driver_sending_text_killed_cyclist.php

    Not quite the same as just ploughing straight through a crossroads without a care in the world.


    Absolutely not, but then you missed my point. Running red lights on a dual carriageway is not a particularly clever thing to do if you value your life.
    I think it is foolish to try and blame one party over the other when they were obviously both culpable for the tragedy which could have been avoided by both parties.
    Wheelies ARE cool.

    Zaskar X
  • grayo59grayo59 Posts: 722
    Sorry to be a pedant but 30 plus half again is 45 and 70 plus half again is 105 not 115 ...

    Juries decide guilt, not sentence length.

    In my view RLJ mitigates infraction by 50% and she should have got two years, (out in one I s'pose) and then banned from driving for ten years.
    __________________
    ......heading for the box, but not too soon I hope!
  • ER, it was 07.30 in the am. And he 'crashed a red 'un'?
    Who is to blame here?
    No chain.
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    For what its worth, having seen repeated near missed from drivers running red at one junction (Sheen Road/Manor Rd-Queens Rr in North Sheen), I contacted the local authority, responsible for installing red light cameras, and asked if they could do something, becaused i was seeing it (it seemed) almost every day.

    Drivers, and motorcyclists in particular, would see the green and start off, and suddenly screech to a halt when they realised the danger of some dickhead who'd decided he couldn't wait.

    Response was that no they wouldn't do anything, they had decided it wasn't necessary, but they might suggest the police do something.

    Never did see any police there, but did see more of the near misses though fortunately no actual collisions....
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • dondaredondare Posts: 2,113
    You could easily say forget the speeding and the phone. Say she had been doing 30mph and hadn't been on her mobile. Who's to say the outcome wouldn't have been the same? I'm all for stronger sentencing for drivers, but I feel that 4 years is a little harsh considering the RLJing fact.

    People spend lots of time on here going on about RLJers with some people defending it as "safer" than stopping. OK she was breaking the law, but not any more so than drivers I see everyday (sometimes worse). I just don't think she deserves 4 years in prison when she was not the only person at fault.

    I also don't think that this case will be doing the perception of cycling and cyclists any good either. I bet that there's a huge amount of people out there seeing this in a similar way to me.

    Like I said, if he hadn't jumped the lights he would still be alive.

    The motorist was driving dangerously.
    The cyclist died because they were hit by a car that was being driven dangerously.
    The motorist was quite rightly charged with causing death by dangerous driving; and four years seems to me to be quite lenient.
    I will never justify illegal cycling and the accident would not have happened the way it did if the cyclist had waited for a green light, but a motor car is a potential killer and the law quite rightly puts the onus for avoiding accidents on the driver. That is why there are speed limits for motor vehicles and that is why motorists must drive with due care and attention.
    Far too often drivers get away with killing by pleading guilty to careless driving. How can careless driving not be dangerous? It's dangerous by definition and if someone died then that's all the proof you could need. Cases like this one, where the driver gets more than a small fine and a few points on the licence show that justice is not always a complete travesty.
    I know that there are people who genuinely think that a cyclist who jumps a red deserves to die but that a motorist who kills doesn't deserve jail, but we should not be thinking this and neither should judges when passing sentence.
    This post contains traces of nuts.
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