A teenager who caused catastrophic injuries after crashing into a wall while on a Facebook video call has been condemned as “incredibly stupid” by the AA.
Hairdresser Danielle Cooper, 19, crashed during a Facebook Messenger video call lasting more than two minutes, causing serious, “life threatening” injuries to two passengers.
Now, in the wake of the crash, the AA has weighed in, castigating anyone who uses a smart phone while driving and warning that the message is still not getting through to motorists.
A spokesman for the association, which has more than three million members in the UK, said: “It’s incredibly stupid to use a smart phone for any use while driving.
“Not only because of the road safety threat, but simply because the police will be able to very quickly spot that the driver wasn’t paying attention. This will be take into account for sentencing.”
Cooper was detained for 18 months at Grimsby Crown Court on Wednesday after admitting causing serious injury by dangerous driving, having no insurance and driving unsupervised with only a provisional licence.
Judge David Tremberg told Cooper that her distraction proved critical in the chain of events on the A161 between Belton and Epworth in North Lincolnshire.
He said Cooper, of King Oswald Road, Epworth, had been “persistently and continuously distracted” by her phone and was “engrossed in it” before the crash on August 20.
Any competent driver paying attention would have negotiated the bend with ease, he said, and avoided “impending disaster”.
The dangers of driving while using a mobile were echoed by AA, who warned that motorists are ignoring not only the risk of injury – but also a long spell in jail.
“The police run regular stings along motorways where they will go looking for drivers who are using their mobile phone,” said the spokesman. “Drivers will be picked up by these surveillance operations.
“Even if it’s not hand held at the time, if there’s an accident, it will come up in court proceedings when sentencing. It could be enough to send that driver to jail.”
He added: “But the message just doesn’t get through. There was a lorry driver who was caught watching Lord of the Rings four or five years ago. But these case just keep coming up.
“It’s a real struggle to figure out how to stop a minority abusing mobile phones and placing a majority in danger.”