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back to article Woman jailed for texting while driving

If you’ve ever wondered what the point of phone applications blocking you from driving and texting are, just ask 21-year-old Philippa Curtis. Curtis, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, has been jailed for 21 months after smashing into a stationary car at 70mph while texting on her mobile phone, according to a report by the BBC. The …

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Unhappy

Vehicle?

Out of interest, what was the vehicle that the offender was driving? I can only find reference to the victim's 106.

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RW
Flame

Make the punishment fit the crime

The sentence should have included a five year ban on all use of cellphones by the villainess of the piece.

Hit the bastards where it hurts most: their cellphone addiction.

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Good

Serves her bloody right. I could think of better punishments, but most of them aren't legal :)

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This post has been deleted by its author

I'm not normally one...

...to jump on the "lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key" bandwagon, but seriously, hitting a stationary car while travelling at 70mph is just nuts. Three years really isn't enough for that sort of behaviour. Killing someone through gross irresponsibility in a situation where you should know better (like driving a car at 70) should get a lot more than that.

In some ways her claims that she wasn't texting at the time actually make it worse. You mean you were paying full attention to the road and you *still* hit a stationary car?

Grrr

Paul

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Coat

ban for life

Am I the only one who wonders why this dangerous idiot should ever have the right to drive again? 3 years is far too short. She should have given up any right to ever being in control (if she ever was) of a vehicle again.

Mine's the one without the Daily Mail in the pocket. Honest.

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Stop

Appropriately punished?

Less than two years chokey and a driving ban of three years (to run concurrently?) for killing someone. Kill someone by driving into them and you'll do a lot less time than dropping a ton of metal on them. There's little difference in motivation in my eyes.

As someone who regularly cycles to work and does all those really 'tedious' things (like stopping at red lights, obeying the Highway Code and being aware of my surroundings and situation generally) this makes my blood boil, even as I'm checking my blind spot (again) for some f***tard in a 4x4 who thinks they can just 'sneak' through that narrow gap between me and an overtaking car.

Maybe she'll pay the price with damaged job prospects, life-long guilt and the like. Or maybe (as the very unfortunate pic on the BBC article suggests http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7865114.stm) she'll not care.

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She probably should have got longer.

By the sounds of it she deserves what she got, and possibly more.

I tried finding a number in my phone once before the ban on using them while driving. I decided it was a damned bad idea pretty fast as I didn't want to talk to them more than I wanted to arrive at my destination still very much alive.

Texting that much (20 was it?) while driving as the report suggests is just ludicrous.

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Alert

21 months

... for killing someone through dangerous driving. That is less than 2 years!!!

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Flame

Clueless bint.

Pity we have to pay to have her locked up; reintroduce pillories for these fuckwads. And have her eat her fucking mobe.

Something similar for the stupid tarts who apply mascara at 80mph on the motorway, something I believed impossible until I had one such clueless tit pointed out to me on the M6 a few weeks back.

R.

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Should be treated as manslaughter.

Find a book and throw it.

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That's great...

Evidently, your life and mine are only worth 21 months of this twats life. Good to know.

This kind of story completely pisses me off. I can guarantee you if it had been my wife killed in this accident, I'd be looking to pay off an insider in the prison system to take care of a certain someone.

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Stop

No she wasn't

She was jailed for causing death by dangerous driving.

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what?

So by the help of my mobile I can KILL whomever I like with my car and get away with 21 months of free food & shelter, or rather less, and then "suffer" another 15 months before I can get behind the wheel again? That's awesome!

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Shame

Such a crying shame it wasn't her that was killed and no-one else. 3 Years driving ban and 21 months jail time? What a joke, if it was a knife that was used as the murder weapon and not a car she would get a hell of a lot more.

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Jailed for texting?

Er, it seems that she was jailed for smashing vehicles and killing people. Texting was a contributing factor, but it would be surprising for someone to be jailed JUST for textdriving.

Or was that more important than killing someone?

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Flame

Idiot

That's it, 21 months in jail and a 3 year ban? How about a life time ban and at least 10 years in jail? It's about time drivers started to take responsibility for their actions. Every day I see drivers doing something totally stupid, today it was some idiot driving too fast, in snow, whilst on his mobile, whilst turning a corner on a crowded street. These people should not be given points on their licence, they should loose it and beforced to retake their test. Loose your licence twice and thats it, dont get it back, ever. Driving is not some sort of god give right.

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Stop

Idiot

I don't understand why anyone would ever text while driving. It's immeasurably worse than talking on the phone while driving, which is bad enough. I was watching the local news (North Carolina) last night, where they were saying a bill was on the table to make texting while driving illegal. I was shocked that it wasn't already. They interviewed a girl who said "it's good that they're passing this bill, but I'll probably still text while driving."

Why isn't it ever the idiot on the phone who dies in these crashes?

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2 years

for killing someone, through gross stupidity, i'd have accepted speaking on the phone while driving 70mph. not legal, but understandable. But texting, ie taking your hands off the controls and eyes off the road while going 70!!

there isn't much i like about the American legal system, but i do agree with the felony/murder rules they have, if a death occurs while you are committing a crime (using a mobile while driving) it's automatically murder

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21 months...???

You can get more than that for possessing so-called Extreme Pornography and you don't even have to kill someone to get it!

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Rob

Terrible Title

This is an idiotic title. She was jailed for HOMICIDE and the texting was incidental. This is poor form, attempting to lure readers with false headlines.

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Stu
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Torture, I say...

The only way her 21 month sentence could even approach a suitable punishment would be if she had to listen to the Nokia ringtone on constant for her entire jail term.

Judges = soft lefty-liberal wankers.

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Unhelpful

The headline is unhelpful in that it implies she was found guilty of causing death by texting while driving. Leaving aside the ambiguity ("While I'm driving I think I might kill someone by sending them a text message") she was, as has been pointed out, found guilty of 'death by dangerous driving'.

Here you can find the definition of this offence. You can also see the guidelines by which the judges may operate. The maximum sentence is remarkably, ahem, stiff.

http://www.brake.org.uk/index.php?p=675

Very interesting.

Call me old-fashioned but I think hanging is too good for this obnoxious, thoughtless twunt of a bitch. Just my opinion mind.

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Pirate

Not a drastic enough punishment

Why not cut her hands off, that will stop her texting and driving.

Might not do much for her, but life will be safer for everyone else

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Stu
Stop

I hope that the prosecution appeals the sentence...

...and that an appeal court sentences the unremorseful bitch to the maximum 14 years.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes but...

Obviously posting this anonymously...

@Shame

Yes the person texting was incredibly stupid and dangerous. But to compare it to deliberately trying to kill someone is not a fair comparison. Whilst she deliberately did what she did, she didn't deliberately drive into the other car - well, at least I hope not.

@Almost Everyone Else

Probably out on my own on this one (and I expect the "yep" reply)... Whilst I agree this is a disgusting thing for anyone to have done, we do need to consider what prison is for. Is it for punishment (aka legalised revenge?) or is it to prevent someone who is a danger to the public from being able to re-offend?

I know its no condolence to the families of the victim, but I doubt this person will ever do something so incredibly stupid again and probably isn't a prison candidate (imho). What does a prison sentence do in these circumstances other than quench a desire for revenge? It isn't a deterrent. I don't text whilst driving because I'm worried I might go to jail, I don't do it because its stupid and dangerous. For me, prisons are about taking criminals off the street who have a high likelihood to re-offend and cause further harm.

I'm sure I would have a different opinion where a member of my family involved. But as an objective member of society I do think we need to consider what our prisons are for and what we are like as a civilisation.

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Unhappy

If you want to kill somone...

use a car. If they're in another car or a pedestrian, you'll probably just get a few months in jail. If they're riding a bicycle, just say you "didn't see them" and you'll probably be back on the streets tomorrow.

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@Doug Southworth

Damn straight. And I'll help with the bribe^Wlegal expenses.

She killed someone. She shouldn't ever be allowed to drive again. Period.

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Gold badge

Ugh!

I won't argue if the sentence is too short or not. But, why, WHY the hell do people think they can text while driving?

1) Obviously it's dangerous, they're not looking at the road for extended periods of time. I think everyone here knows that.

2) Texting is store-and-forward, it's not necessary to read a text the second it comes in and fire a response off to it. I've seen people (on a computer, not in the car) Instant Messaging, they will find it totally normal to IM + do something else, making for extended delays when they forget to check IMs and reply to them. I see no reason a text should be held to a higher standard. Seriously, at least wait til you're stopped at a stoplight or something, pull into a parking lot, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Woman jailed for texting while driving

as an ex motorcyclist hit by someone who I believe was fscking with their mobile phone...... good.

Wish she got longer.

Goodbye license and hope she never gets it back.

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Anonymous Coward

This is what's wrong with the judicial system

This Bimbo kills an innocent motorists and gets off with 21 months in the slammer for gross negligent homicide. She deserves 20 YEARS, not 21 months in the slammer.

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Bury St Edmunds

Is there anywhere near Bury St Edmunds where it is legal to drive at 70, with or without a cellphone in front of your eyes? There wasn't when I lived in that area.

I'm only surprised she wasn't watching music videos on one of those sunvisor-mounted TV sets at the same time she was texting.

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3 years driving ban?

I got caught drinking and driving for the second time (yes, I know, jail would have been good for me) and I will never again get behind the wheel after a drink, and I was given 2 years 9 months ban. This b**** kills someone and only gets 3 years? British law at its best.

She should never again be allowed to get behind the wheel.

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Stop

'king disgraceful

Why does murder by motor vehicle attract such pathetic sentencing? Is the life worth less because it was ended by a twat in a car? If you seriously want to get rid of someone then the judiciary has just given you the best method for minimum chokey. This silly bitch should be sent down for 10 minimum - that's what the twat speeding through the centre of Edinburgh got when he mowed down the person standing next to me and pissed off. What's the difference?

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Cars and phones, an addiction

Sadly, modern society ranks the purported "right" to drive a car and the "right" to fiddle with your phone higher than they rank the value of a human life. If you ever want to kill someone don't use a gun, don't use a knife, just run over them with a car and even if you do go to court you'll get off with a trivial sentence.

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Flame

From the BBC's report[*]

"Curtis, who was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving in December, had told Oxford Crown Court she felt there were times when using a phone while driving was acceptable. "

This alone should be enough to lock the clueless bitch up and throw the key away. Disgusted only begins to describe how I feel about this.

At very least, I'd not only have given her jail time and the driving ban (which will, as someone has already pointed out, no doubt run concurrently) but I'd also have made her resit an extended driving test, both theory and practical, and add, say, 6 points on her license for good measure - should help focus what little bit of mind she possesses.

Still, nice to know that I feel like killing someone then I can do it in my car and get a slapped wrist rather than risk quality time in a pound-me-in-the-arse prison if I use more conventional methods like knife or gun.

Flames, because she truly deserves to burn in hell.

[*] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7865114.stm

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Unhappy

This is just sad

Even 21 *years* in the slammer won't bring back the dead woman. I somehow don't think that the texting girl is ever going to sleep soundly at night. At least two lives destroyed, likely more.

Punishment for disobeying a 'rule' and being stupid, does not have to be matched to that of an evil murderer.

Better would be to make these 'stupid' people realise just how dangerous this kind of thing is.

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It was only a human life she took

Human life is only worth a few pennies these days - after all, there's nearly 7 billion of them, so they're as common as dirt. We all know that had she defrauded an insurance company, pirated a few DVDs, hacked a government database or downloaded some dirty Simpsons cartoons, she'd have gone away for much longer, because then she would have committed the monstrous crime of doing something our Dear Leaders didn't want her to do. But merely killing people? Pfffff... that's doing the government a favour these days!

So yes, the sentence was indeed for texting while driving, since that's something that's been high on the no-no list lately, and the Great Government needs to set an example. As for the death, well... I believe in modern parlance they call that "collateral damage".

Rest in peace, Victoria McBride. At least you don't have to live through the constant erosion of human value any more.

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Coat

Plus ca change...

People seem somehow surprised by this turn of events.

Believe me, if you want to go on a random murder spree, DON'T run through a shopping centre with a 16-ounce hammer smacking people in the head. They'll call you a nutter and lock you up for a very long time.

Instead, drive along the road OUTSIDE a shopping centre with 16-hundred-pounds of motorised metal smacking people in the head (or any other bits they're careless enough to leave in your way). The automobile lobby has far more clout than the hammer lobby (no pun intended !) so it'll be treated as 'just one of those unfortunate side-effects of progress' and you'll be out in no time (ten and a half months, perhaps).

Mine's the one with the car keys, the bottle of vodka, and a wireless electronic device for surfing online pawn whilst 'on the go'.

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Coat

Obvious solution.

Don't let women drive. That would have stopped that welsh student who blamed her boyfriend's GPS after she parked on a level crossing.

Mines the high vis jacket as modelled by Dr J Clarkson.

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@ Grrr Paul + Reg editors

No here claim that she was paying attention does actually make it **slightly** better.

If you are not prepared to give driving 100% concentration then you are driving irresponsibly and carelessly.

Flames for reg editors "jailed for texing while driving" is a poxy headline. She got done for careless driving. Next time there is a murder you'll likely write a headline: "Man gets jailed for waking up in the morning", because he then went out and bought a gun and shot someone. He wouldn't have done that if he had just stayed in bed, therefore he really got done for getting up in the morning. Same logic as yours.

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-->title<--

A moment's inattention can be a dangerous thing.

I remember vividly at night coming up to a corner where two lanes merged with a car right up my arse, and having to get out into the lane where the car was. There were crashbarriers to my right and i was trying to get 1 lane to the left; because that was the way the road was. I was watching the car behind me. I gave up being polite and just pulled out with not much room to spare as far as the road markings went. That was quite lucky because there was a WHOLE FAMILY walking on the side of the road inside the crash barriers...including a pushchair. Father; 2 kids; mother; pushchair. I missed the pushchair by -I would guess- 30cm and I was going -another guess- 60Mph. If I had been just a tiny bit more polite on the road, I would have smeared the whole family. As it happened, I took the legally dodgy course of "fuck him, I'm coming out anyway".

Either choice could have ended in disaster and deaths, but I was lucky. That's the first one that came to mind, but there's loads more.

The news story- it doesn't state whether the woman was texting while colliding; and it doesn't state that she had received/sent the 20 texts while driving. Just "Curtis admitted sending text messages while driving" and "The court was told she sent and received more than 20 text messages before the crash."

The first point is that the story is phrased like Philippa Curtis was texting madly throughout her journey and paying no attention to the road whatsoever. This may or may not be true, and that's up to a jury to decide; having weighed the evidence. The story feels like a cut&paste from the Sun, lacking only the photo of the defendant caught halfway through a blink with maybe bags under the eyes added (although the BBC story does manage a splendidly unflattering photo).

The second point is that anyone who drives a car is milliseconds away from disaster all the time. It probably isn't going to happen on that particular journey, but the difference between a smooth journey and an utter fuckup can occur in considerably under your reaction time and can depend upon an almost unlimited amount of random factors. "There but for the grace of dog" etc.

If Philippa Curtis was texting madly and paying no attention to the road; then she deserves to burn. Victoria McBryde is lost to the world, along with whatever she was going to do with her life; not to mention the effect upon friends, family and everyone who knew her.

I was really unimpressed with the article. C'mon Reg, at least give the impression of impartiality. (Except, of course, articles about iPhones etc)

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WTF is wrong you mouth breathers?

Jeez... Forget restitution and the rehabilitation of otherwise productive members of society. Just lock em up for 2 years. Make us innocent people pay for the jackarse's bed, tele, food, and housing. That should teach her good! Who needs a drivers license when you can simply get a free ride from the taxpayers.

Great job dipwads.

Frank

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WRONG TITLE

The woman was not jailed for texting while driving. She was jailed for causing and accident and killing somebody, there's a BIG difference.

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Bronze badge

not nearly enough!

Only 21 months for what is essentially homicide (however involuntary)?

Open season for anyone with a car then. Commit murder, get out in under 2 years. Hell, if you use a new car you're test driving, you don't even get blood and brains on your own.

It really is open season on cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians out there, isn't it?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Yes but..

Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.

In some cases nature should be assisted in carrying out the last portion of the above quote. The one that provides the natural selection factor.

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Silver badge

I've asked this before.

What is the point of text messaging via telephone? 99.99% (or more) of all such messages are sent phone-to-phone. Why not just use the phone to make a phone call?

If you must send text, send email. A side benefit is a real keyboard ...

Seriously, I know virtually everyone does the "texting" thing, but I don't get it. What's the point? What's the attraction? What's the benefit? Is there a serious use for the technology?

From my perspective, making the technology available to the driver of the car in question and other, similar idiots, is tantamount to maintaining an attractive nuisance ... Lawyers always follow the money; eventually a big telco is going to get sued over texting following a case like this.

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Alert

21 months for manslaughter!?

This is just simply wrong. This woman killed another person whilst in control of a lethal device (i.e. a motor car). The charge should be manslaughter at the very least and she should be ordered to provide meaningful compensation to the dead woman's family.

Until the legal systems actually starts commanding justice in cases such as this the incidents will continue to recur. I hope the driving ban starts when she is released and not when the prison time starts!

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Lifetime driving bans...

...are a good idea. It would force the middle classes on to public transport. Then perhaps the government would do something practical to improve it.

Seriously though, why is driving sen as a right not a priveledge ? That attitue is why this driver was allowed to kill someone and be back on the road in three years. It's almost as though banning them from behind the wheel is seen as more draconian than prison.

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At the AC saying 21 months is okay cause she 'didn't mean to do it'

... is nonsense. To quote this case specifically, the woman said she thought it acceptable to text and drive as she felt she could do both and hasn't actually held her hands up and accepted the blame. Despite the guilty verdict and sentence

Also, in London, a guy has been given a 12 months sentence and a three year ban for killing a cyclist whilst talking on his mobile and driving.

Nobody is saying these people are down there with premeditated murderers, but it just shows that the UK legal system in general holds a life in scant regard. Your life is only felt to be significant if you are murdered. An unlawful killing of someone is an unlawful killing, period.

If as a result of your own calculated irresponsibility, negligence or direct actions you take a life, your sentence should reflect this. People continue to flought the law on mobile phone usage because there is not enough deterrent. Spot fines and points mean nothing, and a maximum sentence of 21 months for causing a death doesn't register. It is a manageable risk to the culprits as it stands and that needs to change.

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