Driver sentenced after hands-free mobile phone use contributed to fatal collision
Surrey Police have warned HGV drivers to remain alert while driving, especially when using their mobile phones hands-free, after a driver went through a red traffic light and hit a car.
Paul Russell was using his mobile phone via Bluetooth when the truck he was driving went through a red light and hit a car in Lingfield, Surrey, in August 2016. The car’s driver, Jill Turk, died as a result of the incident.
Russell, of Stanley Avenue, Ashby de la Zouch, was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and a five-year driving ban after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at Guildford Crown Court on 21 July. He must also take an extended driving test before his licence is returned.
Sergeant JP Davis from Surrey Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “This is a tragic case that resulted in the death of an 82-year-old woman and it has been devastating for her family and friends.
“Witnesses who followed behind Russell on the day described his driving as immaculate. This will have a far-reaching effect on Russell and his family, although the court recognised he did not set out on his journey to cause the death of another person, which is sadly what happened.
“It shows that even if you are legally using your hands-free phone and are a professional driver, you can be prone to distraction that can have the most devastating consequences.”
Judge Roger Chapple said the fact that Russell was on the phone “must have had a great deal” to do with him failing to see the red light.
- Read CM's 60 second guide to mobile phone law.