Prolonged texting like DUI in Britain

text messaging fatalityThe New York Times continues its welcome crusade against texting and driving with a look at a British case in which one young woman was sent to prison for killing another young woman.

Phillipa Curtis, 22, rear-ended Victoria McBryde’s broken-down yellow Fiat, killing McBryde instantly. Curtis had been texting, but not at the exact moment of the crash, the Times reported.

New British sentencing guidelines equate prolonged texting before a crash with drinking and driving, or with drag racing. The guidelines call for terms of four to seven years. Curtis received only 21 months.

The Times reports:

“Britain’s new guidelines state that using a hand-held phone when causing a death will “always make the offense more serious” in terms of punishment and lead to prison time. Texting is given special treatment. … Although most European countries and a minority of American states now ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving, Britain has become one of the more aggressive countries in attacking the problem.”

One can only wonder how American legislators would make of the prolonged DWT concept — considering that many can’t figure out how to exempt 911 calls from hands-free legislation. Or are stumped by how police could possibly tell if a driver were texting.

Curtis, whose lenient sentence was upheld because of her “geniune remorse,” is shown in a photo accompanying the article — walking into court while having a chat on her cell phone.

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