Norwich Crown Court has heard how a 43-year-old man was so busy using his mobile phone while driving that he failed to notice a moped rider, crashing into him and leaving him seriously injured.
The case has prompted Norfolk police to highlight once more the message that it is unacceptable to use a mobile phone while driving.
Prosecuting, Peter Gair described how a motorist overtaking Adam Burroughs moments before the accident noticed that he was on his phone. “It was quite apparent this defendant simply was not paying attention. He was more interested in his mobile phone,” he said.
Burroughs briefly got out of his car after the crash and his demeanour suggested he knew he had been using his phone. The victim was taken to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital with multiple fractures and bruising. He is still undergoing treatment for his injuries.
While Burroughs tried to disguise the fact he had been using his phone, records later showed that he had indeed been using it at the time of the crash, although investigating officers were unable to say who had been on the other end of the call.
Burroughs already had a conviction for drink-driving and was on bail for a drug-driving offence. He was also on early release from a 68-month sentence for drug-trafficking.
He admitted to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was jailed for 21 months and banned from the road for 34 months.
Judge Katharine Moore said on sentencing that Burroughs was seen at the wheel “fully engaged” with his mobile.
“It just shows how important it is to be vigilant while driving,” she said, adding that it was “extremely serious inattention” and only “good fortune” that the victim survived the impact.
Acting on behalf of Burroughs, Matthew McNiff said that he was insured and under the influence of neither drugs nor drink. “He does not for a moment say he was not driving dangerously. He was distracted,” he said, adding that Burroughs wanted to apologise for his actions.
“He has accepted responsibility, he apologises for what has occurred.”
Police in Norfolk have said that the sentence supports their message that driving while using a mobile phone is not acceptable.
Chief Insp Kris Barnard said: “You might not think a momentary glance at a text message is harming anyone but think of what’s going on around you. Hazards on the road, especially when you are driving at speed can change so quickly and in that moment if you’re not concentrating 100 percent you could easily cause a crash, injure, or kill someone else. Is that text message, notification or selfie really worth it?”
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