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 …
Erm A14 (Previously A45) always been derestricted and always been a duel carriageway.
I dont know when it was built.. sometime before 1980?
only 2 years in jail for taking someones life and getting to use a phone while driving?
I fancy me some real life GTA! whats the worse that can happen? I'll ramp the highstreet pavement, take out as many people as possible and when the car finally grinds to a halt from being choked up with bodies, I'll explain to the cops that I was on my phone at the time.
@AC - What is prison for?
Pour encouragez les autres.
Not much encouragement in 21 months.
very good response, shame no one else seems to get it.
Education standards have slipped a long way in this country...
@Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 2nd February 2009 19:50 GMT
Well done. A well thought out comment. Nice to read a non-knee jerk reaction. I do think she should go to prison though. Prison is a deterrent and one that should be used, otherwise it's not much of one.
There really do need to be stiffer penalties for poor driving, especially for drunken and phone related fatalities. While some cases include mitigating factors, for example if the victim was drunk and stumbled in front of car (obviously not the case here), this particular case is more or less equivalent to murder as she intentionally made a conscious decision to engage in an unnecessary activity which resulted in death and general mayhem. In an ideal world such gross stupidity would be thoroughly punished, however in the real world even massive fines and jailtime are unlikely to deter people like this, they will just continue in their destructive behavior until it gets them or someone else killed. In example, I live in the United States and penalties for drunk driving are quite stiff in my state, however it does absolutely nothing to stop the hordes of drunken teenage boys speeding across city streets and parking lots at two or three times the speed limit. They just don't care.
21 months for killing someone? Out in 12 or less? pathetic. She should have had 5 years hard labour, no parole, life ban from driving.
Oh, R.A.L. it wasn't murder (no premeditation) it could [possibly] be considered manslaughter but was most certainly causing death by gross negligence. Hmm, make that jail term 10 years hard labour.
This is where the hand-wringing nancies comes out and say "Ah *wring, wring* but the law makes no allowance for out come *wring, wring* we must understand that she is a victim too. *wring, wring*" To which I reply: BULL-SHIT! A car is a deadly weapon and it should be treated as such. Someone firing a gun in the air or running through the streets with a sword would face a proper spell in chokey, the same should apply for ANYONE doing similar things in a car.
Oh I could go on. We need mandatory eye-tests and health-tests for all drivers (say, once every 2 years). Mandatory re-tests once every 5 or 10 years. Stepped licenses (sub 1l, 1l - sub1.8l) with only those people passing a much tougher advanced test being allowed a car with greater than 1.8l capacity. We need our traffic police back and swinging penalties for all the idiots driving without their lights working (there is no excuse for this, check them!)
And icing on the cake? Car drivers must have held a powered two-wheel vehicle license for two years before they are allowed to apply for their test. That will teach them to CHECK THEIR BLOODY BLIND SPOTS! Motorcycles already have stepped licenses and this seems to have had some effect, but that are still 20 times more likely to appear on the KSI stats than a car driver. Either that is the nature of the beast, or we need to figure out how better to educate them in riding responsibly (or, just possibly, fixing our roads and road-furniture).
And before having a powered two-wheel vehicle license, you must have held a cycle license for two years as well. And by that I mean some kind of Highway Code test and proficiency check. I don't expect cyclists to be taxed, but I do expect them to be insured (which is why we need traffic police back - random stop-and-check). Cyclists are responsible for an awful lot of accidents and their victims should be able to get recompense. As for the red-light jumpers? Just string them up as a warning to others.
Just lifetime ban her from driving.
In this day and age, this is a serious inconvenience but liveable (unlike being, oh, I dunno, run over and killed).
Jail time beyond 21 months is punishment and that won't bring the dead back, so long enough in chokey to give her time to think about her stupidity. After that? Well, she's shown she's incapable of operating a car, so remove the license. She can't kill someone again with a car if she doesn't drive.
And, from her POV, she'll be able to text as much as she wants.
But a three year ban is worthless. Life. She doesn't deserve the right to drive.
Anyone else feel ashamed to be British when reading stories like this?
Well, she's unlikely to have sent a text out AFTER having crashed:
"sry gt prngd c4 l8r"
Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 2nd February 2009 19:50 GMT
Obviously posting this anonymously...
Why? The reason is not obvious to me at all.
If you can't stop in the distance you can see then yuo are going too fast.
If you smooshed the family it would have been your fault and it could have been avoided by looking ahead rather than the 5m in front of you.
People are stupid and think that glancing down to text for 5 seconds or so is OK, it's not, the woman is going to suffer forever with guilt (if she's vaguely human), prison is not for her - it's a punishment to show the victims familiy that someone cares about their loss and a deterrent for others.
No amount of restitution will bring her victim back, and no amount of rehabilitation will prevent others doing what she did.
@3 years driving ban?
Yes... 2 years 9 months for the second drinking and driving offence is more than fair, in fact as you've shown complete disregard for the law twice, the liklyhood is that you'll do it again, personally I'd give you a much longer ban (and a third strike would mean no licence ever again).
Punishment should be about prevention, you can;t fix a crime that has happened - your previous punishment had no effect, so you should be nailed to the wall, you have no excuse for the second time.
She got a 3 year ban, this is not long enough, and depending on the status of the current law the 3 year ban may start immediately, rather than when she gets out of prison, so it really could only be a few months ban (the law is changing to make bans start after any prison sentence).
Philippa is unlikely to kill someone else while texting, but if she does (or anything like it) then let's hope the law take a very dim view of her, she made one stupid, fatal, irrepairable mistake, some would say that you are the bigger criminal (you were just luckier and didn't kill anyone either time).
btw. when I was 9 my best friend (also 9) was killed on the way to school by a drunk driver, so AC maybe you got away with much more than just a light ban.
I think most of the commenter's have been saying that 21 months jail is not enough, on the basis that the three year driving ban is an absolutely negligible punishment.
Locking her up for life may not be a good use of tax-payers money, but this really does not send out much of a message to those like her who still use their phones while driving - if this is all she gets for causing a death, nothing is going to happen to "me" - "I'm not going to kill anyone, so even if the Police stop me all they will do is tick me off."
Punishment for causing death by dangerous driving is not a sensible deterrent - if only the title were correct, and she had indeed been jailed for texting, without the need for the unnecessary death.
Driving like an idiot <> using an offensive wepon
FFS people, its not like she was trying to kill people. She wasn't brandishing her car under the nose of an old lady to steal a purse. She didn't wave her car in the air to look tough. So stop all the analogies to a deliberate attempt at murder.
However, she was being bloody stupid and should suffer the consequences.
So if I photgraph a copper, I run the risk of 10 years inside and she gets less than 2 years for killing someone through sheer fucking stupidity?
@What is prison for etc.
Many things, but one of them is punishment. There will be the punishment in that she will be in prison for 12 months or so and also the punishments associated with having been sentenced to prison for more than 12 months (jobs, travel etc.).
Another very important one is that for whatever time she spends in prison she will be completely unable to kill anyone whilst texting in control of a car. You have seen the reports, she believes that texting whilst driving can be acceptable. Even in court where she should be saying whatever it takes to get a lighter sentence she still basically says "The law may say texting whilst driving is wrong and dangerous, but in my vast experience and with my overwhelming intellect I disagree". To me this at least suggests that she is a candidate for repeat offense.
To make this point more we need to remember that she is not saying that she used to think texting whilst driving could be OK but now she has seen the error of her ways, or that she made an error of judgement in doing so, she was saying at her trial that she believes (present tense, even given the stark consequences of doing so) texting whilst driving can be OK.
We're already heading there...
Over here on the other side of the pond, New York State is seriously looking at legislation that not only prohibits texting while driving, but also much further. There is even talk of a complete cell-phone ban, including when using hands-free. Most of this is coming in light of a very tragic accident almost 2 years ago when 3 graduating seniors from a high school were killed in a head-on accident with a truck after their SUV crossed into oncoming traffic. The proponents of the law point to the fact that the driver's phone sent a text message just seconds before the impact (and of course the driver must have been texting on their phone, not one of the others in the car).
[As you can guess from my tone, I don't think that was the cause -- I put it down to the piss-poor driver training in NYS: the driver had just passed a vehicle when her car swerved back across the road -- sounds more like she over corrected when pulling back in and lost it.]
While I agree something has to be done, I get really worried about knee-jerk responses. The real answer isn't in prohibiting everything, but in better education. Telling someone "Don't do that" only teaches them not to get caught. Teaching them them why it is a bad thing has a much better result.
I'm afraid I'd have to agree over the issue of jail time.
3 years locked out of society has serious ramifications. I believe a lifetime driving ban should be automatic for those who kill through gross neglegance, but I know if I were in the slammer for 3 years, I'd be almost as scared of coming back out to the tattered ruins that used to be my life.
The job would be gone. Getting another with a mysterious 3 year blank space on my CV would be virtually impossible without having to explain, and that's NEVER going to look good in an interview.
What about my house? What would happen to the rent payments? After that, what about all my furniture and possesions?
Chances are, I'd return to society with no money, no home, and no job prospects.
That I'd consider a pretty hefty punishment.
People look at prison time as some finite block with a beginning and an end, but what many don't realise is that an experience such as that never leaves you, and will leave an indelible mark on the rest of your life.
Unless of course you're one of these benefits scrounging counsil estate lard-ball single mums, then it'll just be like having an extended babysitter.
Again career criminals (a dying breed) look upon it almost as a forced business vacation with training thrown in.
People like that shouldn't be jailed. They should be press-ganged into hard time breaking rocks and fixing roads, with both their food and oxygen strictly rationed.
Perhaps then, after three years of sweating out all that benefits bought gravy, these people might be able to perform some useful function within our society. The kids would have also had a better upbringing.
Perhaps the point I'm making is that if you have something, anything to lose, jailtime will take it from you. Generally, those who have something to lose have earned it.
So prison is an inconvenience to those who never contributed to society in the first place, but a life destroyer for those who have.
It's an unbalanced method of punishment, and was never meant to be used as such. Only as a means of removing continually dangerous elements from our society