Feeds

'Fatal text' driver jailed for two years

Sent SMS just before crash

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A Pontypool sales executive who killed another driver in a head-on collision, just two minutes after sending a text message, has been jailed for two years.

Michael Smith, 43, was found guilty last November of causing death by dangerous driving, but "denied using his mobile before the crash", the BBC reports. The accident happened when Smith was overtaking in his Land Rover Discovery on the A492 near Usk, Monmouthshire, in October 2005. He collided with a Vauxhall Corsa coming in the opposite direction, killing 53-year-old David Brown.

Cardiff Crown court heard that Smith would have needed "at least 176 metres of open road to overtake safely, but there was less than 63 metres".

The prosecution claimed that two minutes prior to the accident, Smith had sent a 19-word text to his stepdaughter, and had then received a reply just as the incident occurred. Smith "was arrested and admitted making illegal calls and texts from his hand-held mobile".

Prosecutor Martin Kelly told the court: "Smith was using his mobile phone on his journey that morning. He sent the long text message barely two minutes before the tragic fatal crash. His stepdaughter replied to the message at the very moment the fatal collision took place."

Defence council Susan Ferrier explained that: "Smith's wife was expecting their second child and he was already father to a toddler and step-father to the daughter of his previous partner who had died 'in tragic circumstances' just days before the crash."

Ferrier noted Smith had been "a rock" to his step-daughter since her mother's demise.

She said Smith was "genuinely remorseful" for causing Mr Brown's death, adding: "He has, in fact, sentenced himself in many ways, living with the horrors of what happened as a result of his driving and the guilt he feels as a result of causing the loss of someone's life."

Judge Phillip Richards sentenced Smith to two years' jail and disqualified him for four years. He told the defendant: "Your driving fell far below what would be expected of a careful and considerate driver."

He also concluded Smith had "decided to overtake when you needed much more road than you had, a fact compounded by your sending messages on your mobile phone prior to the accident. It had the result of killing a wholly innocent member of the public who was driving correctly on his side of the road".

The judge warned: "All drivers must realise that this kind of behaviour will end up in a prison sentence. The law requires drivers to be calm, considerate and patient to other road users. You displayed none of these qualities." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.