'˜Don't use your mobile phone at the wheel'
Northumbria Police's Op Dragoon team are urging motorists not to use their phone whilst driving after an HGV driver was jailed in Berkshire.
Tomasz Kroker, 30, was handed a 10 year prison sentence after he ploughed his HGV into stationary traffic at 50mph - whilst he was using his mobile phone behind the wheel.
The collision claimed the lives of mother Tracy Houghton, 45, her sons Ethan, 13, and Joshua, 11, and her partner’s daughter Aimee Goldsmith, also 11.
Reading Crown Court had heard how Kroker had paid little attention to the road as he scrolled through music on his phone while driving on the A34 near Newbury in Berkshire. He pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving.
Sergeant Phil Patterson, who leads the Dragoon team, said: “This really was a horrendous collision and an entire family has been tragically killed because of the actions of one man.
“This happened down in Berkshire but there will be motorists here in the North East who continue to use mobile phones while they drive on busy roads and motorways. It is vital that motorists treat the road with respect and concentrate fully.”
He added: “Young drivers in particular think they can get away with playing on their phone but all it takes is for them to not concentrate for a split second and they are involved in a serious collision.
“A motor vehicle in the wrong hands won’t just kill one person, it could kill half a dozen in a split second. That is why it is so important for people to heed our advice.”
Since April 2014 Northumbria Police have dealt with 1,543 motorists for driving whilst on their mobile phone including 606 in 2015 alone.
So far in 2016 the force’s Motor Patrol officers have worked together with response officers to deal with 410 motorists for the offence.
Northumbria Police’s Op Dragoon team works tirelessly every day to make our roads safer with the team made up of three branches: Enforcement, Engagement and Education.
Since 2014 they have made significant efforts to increase the safety of all road users through educational campaigns such as this one, engaging with car enthusiast communities and by targetting high risk drivers on our roads.
If anyone suspects anyone of dangerous driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving whilst on their mobile phone then they can contact the team by calling 101.