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Tankertrashnav
7th Mar 2018, 22:41
You're driving up the M1 and you decide to answer a call on your hands free mobile. All perfectly legal so far. You get engrossed in your conversation, when all of a sudden - damn! You've missed your exit so you are now resigned to an extra 20 odd miles on your journey

But

You're driving up the M1 and you decide to answer a call on your hands free mobile. All perfectly legal so far. You get engrossed in your conversation, when all of a sudden - damn. You've driven into the back of a minibus which was stationary behind another truck and you have just wiped out 8 people. You were doing 56 mph in cruise control at the time of the collision so you obviously didn't see the minibus until you hit it

The first example is a bit of careless driving which nobody but you will ever know about, but amazingly a court has just decided that my second example was careless driving as well

I am informed that the bar is set very high to get a successful conviction for causing death by dangerous driving. In what seems to be very like American style plea bargaining the accused (as in the present case) will often plead guilty to the lesser charge to avoid the possibility of the more serious one. Is it not time that the bar was lowered?

Lorry driver David Wagstaff cleared of dangerous driving over M1 death crash | Metro News (http://metro.co.uk/2018/03/07/lorry-driver-david-wagstaff-acquitted-dangerous-driving-m1-death-crash-7369397/)

Just to clarify the position on hands free phones

https://www.gov.uk/using-mobile-phones-when-driving-the-law

Note the following para

You must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times. The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted and you can be prosecuted.

funfly
7th Mar 2018, 23:26
engrossed in conversation, with your eyes shut?

Tankertrashnav
7th Mar 2018, 23:50
A possible explanation - certainly not looking at the road ahead

nonsense
8th Mar 2018, 00:57
Compare the key elements of this incident (http://metro.co.uk/2018/03/07/lorry-driver-david-wagstaff-acquitted-dangerous-driving-m1-death-crash-7369397/) with a widely reported fatal incident in Quebec in 2010, prosecuted and reported in 2014 (https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/father-daughter-killed-because-woman-stopped-car-to-help-ducks-prosecutor-alleges-1.1850997) in which a young woman stopped in freeway traffic for ducklings, resulting in the death of a motorcyclist and his daughter when they ran into her stationary car.

UK 2017:
"... on a hands free call and in cruise control at 56mph when his lorry ploughed into a minibus...

... the minibus ... was waiting with his hazard lights on for the chance to go around the lorry of another driver, Ryszard Masierak, 31, who was stopped on the motorway.

Masierakís vehicle had been sat stationary on the motorway for 12 minutes ... despite miles of hard shoulder being available to him."

versus Canada 2010:

"Emma Czornobaj ... stopped her car on Highway 30 ... to tend to a family of ducks that was attempting to cross the road.

Prosecutors allege that action led to the crash that killed Andre Roy, 50, and his daughter Jessie, 16. The pair was on a motorcycle that slammed into Czornobajís stopped car....

Czornobaj ... has been charged with two counts each of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death.
...
The jury will have to decide whether stopping in the left lane to help the ducks cross the road amounts to criminal negligence causing death Ė a crime that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison."

Czornobaj was convicted and lost an appeal against her conviction in 2017 (http://torontosun.com/2017/06/08/woman-who-stopped-car-to-help-ducks-causing-fatal-crash-loses-appeal/wcm/a867a59b-88d9-4cef-943c-09b426b4ddc7).

How is Ryszard Masierak not in the dock?
Or should Andre Roy have been charged with dangerous driving, had he survived?

dastocks
8th Mar 2018, 01:13
UK 2017:
"... on a hands free call and in cruise control at 56mph when his lorry ploughed into a minibus...

... the minibus ... was waiting with his hazard lights on for the chance to go around the lorry of another driver, Ryszard Masierak, 31, who was stopped on the motorway.

There may be a good reason, but I can't help wondering why the minibus driver sat there with the hazard lights on rather than passing the lorry on the hard shoulder.


How is Ryszard Masierak not in the dock?

He is/was, and has already been convicted.

As I understand it David Wagstaff pleaded guilty to a number of other offences related to the accident so there was no need to convict him on the dangerous driving charge as well.

4mastacker
8th Mar 2018, 06:42
When I saw the title of this thread I thought it was about a notable poster on TRABB.

ATNotts
8th Mar 2018, 07:28
You're driving up the M1 and you decide to answer a call on your hands free mobile. All perfectly legal so far. You get engrossed in your conversation, when all of a sudden - damn! You've missed your exit so you are now resigned to an extra 20 odd miles on your journey

But

You're driving up the M1 and you decide to answer a call on your hands free mobile. All perfectly legal so far. You get engrossed in your conversation, when all of a sudden - damn. You've driven into the back of a minibus which was stationary behind another truck and you have just wiped out 8 people. You were doing 56 mph in cruise control at the time of the collision so you obviously didn't see the minibus until you hit it

The first example is a bit of careless driving which nobody but you will ever know about, but amazingly a court has just decided that my second example was careless driving as well

I am informed that the bar is set very high to get a successful conviction for causing death by dangerous driving. In what seems to be very like American style plea bargaining the accused (as in the present case) will often plead guilty to the lesser charge to avoid the possibility of the more serious one. Is it not time that the bar was lowered?

Lorry driver David Wagstaff cleared of dangerous driving over M1 death crash | Metro News (http://metro.co.uk/2018/03/07/lorry-driver-david-wagstaff-acquitted-dangerous-driving-m1-death-crash-7369397/)

Just to clarify the position on hands free phones

https://www.gov.uk/using-mobile-phones-when-driving-the-law

Note the following para

The behaviour of that truck driver, talking on his phone (hands free) for one hour whilst on cruise control, and presumably, as most people are when on hands free, in a world of their own just serves to highlight that hands free isn't acceptable, is dangerous, and needs banning.

While they're at it, I saw a TV add for some brand of car this week (the advert was so good I can't remember which one) and they were trumpeting about how the tech. in their new model allows one us transfer all the apps from phone to in car screen. Great!! So now it;ll be possible to use your Netflix app on your car screen, and watch a whole box set whilst cruising down the M1!!

When are governments finally going to get ahead of the curve and stop this technological lunacy before it becomes widespread?

anchorhold
8th Mar 2018, 07:44
While I am not against thr legistation regarding mobile phones, it does seem a bit strage you can not switch your hands free on simply by pressing a button, yest you can turn the car radio on. On the other hand perhaps a blanket ban shouldthe police can use their radions while be imposed, because unlike having a conversation with a passenger, you can't break the conversation with a phone according to conditions.

Meanwhile the police can use a non hands free radio, while answering a 999 can, why do they not use hands free?

ATNotts
8th Mar 2018, 07:54
Meanwhile the police can use a non hands free radio, while answering a 999 can, why do they not use hands free?

That is a very interesting question. I guess the answer will be that today police officers are generally 2 per car, and the officer in the passenger seat will operate the technology wherever feasible.

Personally, I would insist the police had, and used hands free when they were the only officer in the vehicle. Can't really see that this should be a problem.

UniFoxOs
8th Mar 2018, 08:53
The behaviour of that truck driver, talking on his phone (hands free) for one hour whilst on cruise control, and presumably, as most people are when on hands free, in a world of their own just serves to highlight that hands free isn't acceptable, is dangerous, and needs banning.

But would it have been all right if he had been as engrossed in talking to a passenger, or should we ban pax in vehicles?

vapilot2004
8th Mar 2018, 09:01
Meanwhile the police can use a non hands free radio, while answering a 999 can, why do they not use hands free?

That's all covered in the training. ;)

Saintsman
8th Mar 2018, 09:07
Not excusing him, but if he had crashed into the back of the minibus and nobody was injured or killed, I imagine that it would have been careless driving too. The actions are the same, it's the consequences that are different.

Is it right to change the offence because of the outcome?

ATNotts
8th Mar 2018, 09:34
But would it have been all right if he had been as engrossed in talking to a passenger, or should we ban pax in vehicles?

With respect, talking on a mobile, hands free or not, is totally different to talking to a passenger. If you had been in the passenger seat of drivers talking hands free, whilst nonchalantly cruising down the middle lane of a motorway you'd know that, and I can tell you that I have been in the company of numerous drivers doing just that.

Personally I don't and won't have hands free operational in my car, much to the annoyance of my employer as I understand the safety implications, and by definition the risk to which I am putting myself, before even considering the danger in which i might put others.

Andy_S
8th Mar 2018, 09:43
Not excusing him, but if he had crashed into the back of the minibus and nobody was injured or killed, I imagine that it would have been careless driving too. The actions are the same, it's the consequences that are different.

Is it right to change the offence because of the outcome?

Just to clarify, he had already pleaded guilty to causing Death By Careless Driving. If, hypothetically, no one had died, then obviously a lesser offence would have applied.

Laarbruch72
8th Mar 2018, 10:20
But would it have been all right if he had been as engrossed in talking to a passenger, or should we ban pax in vehicles?

No. The two are very different. If someone is in your car, you can (and will) naturally pause conversation to divert full concentration to what's happening ahead of you. The conversation almost stops altogether in busy areas such as junctions, and it usually picks up a little where the road is straighter with less hazards. We all do it all the time. The key thing is that your mind stays on things in and around the car.

But as ATNotts says, try watching someone on a long phone conversation while they're driving. (It doesn't matter where the hands are, the pertinent bit is where the mind is). The full attention goes on the conversation and the driver may as well not be in the car any longer, they're almost completely oblivious to what's going on around them. I avoid travelling as a passenger in any car where the driver takes or makes calls, it's pretty frightening to witness just how many things a distracted driver doesn't notice.

GLIDER 90
8th Mar 2018, 11:30
With driving with a hands free mobile and in a conversation is no different as to a passenger in the car talking. As long as the driver is concentrating on driving with both hands on the wheel and there should be not a problem. With your first example that was careless driving, the second one was very serious because the driver was not looking at the road ahead, so the court is right in finding the driver guilty.

Laarbruch72
8th Mar 2018, 12:13
With driving with a hands free mobile and in a conversation is no different as to a passenger in the car talking.

Sorry, that's nonsense and not backed up by any fact whatsoever. It's accepted that talking on a phone is just about the most distracting thing you can do. (And that refers to both hands free, and hand held - they're proven to be equally distracting). Many studies (one notable one by the British Medical Journal) have concluded that drivers on a phone are 4 times more likely to be in an accident than someone who is not. Google the studies, they're easy to find, and interesting. Having passengers jabbering is distracting too, but not by the same magnitude. Drivers who are distracted by passengers in the car are twice as likely to have an accident as a lone driver. Now that's still significant of course, but it's less.

Why? Well, there are many reasons, I touched on them earlier. One is that people sat in the same vehicle can be more aware of hazards and will sometimes adjust their conversation accordingly. People sat a hundred miles away will not pause their call because you're approaching a busy junction, and you as the driver won't keep pausing. You stay committed to the conversation.

ATNotts
8th Mar 2018, 13:19
Why? Well, there are many reasons, I touched on them earlier. One is that people sat in the same vehicle can be more aware of hazards and will sometimes adjust their conversation accordingly. People sat a hundred miles away will not pause their call because you're approaching a busy junction, and you as the driver won't keep pausing. You stay committed to the conversation.

Very succinctly put, I absolutely fail to understand what people fail to comprehend, but then in today's "I want it, and I want it now" society I suppose I should expect little else.

The problem is that it doesn't stop at mobile communication; it is also the SatNav, the entertainment system (though that MIGHT have become safer since the advent of controls on the steering wheel). When you move to connected vehicles, where the driver, if he or she it a totally ignorant prat, may consider it's perfectly OK to check the weather or their stock prices on the www whilst driving. And that's before the same ignorant person decides to finish watching the box set they started last night.

This distractional technology needs banning unless, and until we get fully dependable driverless cars, which point, so far as I am concerned they can do exactly what they want, since they won't be responsible for controlling the (un)guided missile they are behind the (possibly missing) wheel of.

anchorhold
8th Mar 2018, 14:00
I need to stress that police can do blues and twos (999) single crew, no amount of training will make that practice safe, it is simply wrong.

To add to this, there was a fatal helicopter accident in London a few years ago, when a single crew helicopter flew into a crane mounted on a tower block in IMC while using a mobile phone. Oddly and from memory the AAIB never raised this as very negligent. To add the pilot died in addition to a pedestrian.

gruntie
8th Mar 2018, 14:24
With driving with a hands free mobile and in a conversation is no different as to a passenger in the car talking.

Sorry, that's nonsense and not backed up by any fact whatsoever.

Iím with Laarbruch on that one. Add to it cruise control, touchscreens and autopilot and you have a recipe for disaster. As has already been demonstrated. A driver should drive. Nothing else.

RAT 5
8th Mar 2018, 14:32
Drivers who are distracted by passengers in the car are twice as likely to have an accident as a lone driver.

What is disturbing is to follow a car, even in congested areas, where the driver and pax are natter-boxes and the driver insists on looking at the pax while talking. You can see their eyes are 'off the road' for perhaps 50% of the time. Worse if it is mother and child: she's often one hand fiddling with the kid and eyes off the road.

And what about sandwiches & coffee while driving? Is than a criminal offence like phoning? Not sure.

419
8th Mar 2018, 14:50
Meanwhile the police can use a non hands free radio, while answering a 999

Anyone is permitted to use a hand held mobile phone whilst driving if they are making a 999 emergency call and it's unsafe or impracticable for them to stop the vehicle.

ATNotts
8th Mar 2018, 15:02
And what about sandwiches & coffee while driving? Is than a criminal offence like phoning? Not sure.

I believe it is, falling under the general heading of not being in full control of the vehicle. I'm sure I've heard of officers pulling people over for eating at the wheel.

As for hot coffee, it beggars belief that the powers that be allow take-away drive-through hot drinks outlets to operate on motorway services. First it means that the driver may not be using the services for taking an often much needed break. Second, what are the consequences of hot coffee spilling over one's crotch - I would suggest loss of concentration for certain, and violet steering for another. What are they thinking of?

UniFoxOs
8th Mar 2018, 15:09
I'm sure I've heard of officers pulling people over for eating at the wheel.

So have I, it is illegal as you say. I have also seen officers eating at the wheel.

One law for them, another for us.

ATNotts
8th Mar 2018, 15:20
So have I, it is illegal as you say. I have also seen officers eating at the wheel.

One law for them, another for us.

Well there's a surprise, I'd never have imagined such a thing!

RAT 5
8th Mar 2018, 15:53
- I would suggest loss of concentration for certain, and violet steering for another. What are they thinking of?

It has been known for a crash to happen due to a violent sneezing fit. So no drinking into the sun, then, or with a cold.
One of the other crash causes was a stricken mother turning round to calm screaming baby strapped in back seat.

Where will it end? Some behaviours are prosecutable others not; same result though.

ATNotts
8th Mar 2018, 16:13
- I would suggest loss of concentration for certain, and violet steering for another. What are they thinking of?

It has been known for a crash to happen due to a violent sneezing fit. So no drinking into the sun, then, or with a cold.
One of the other crash causes was a stricken mother turning round to calm screaming baby strapped in back seat.

Where will it end? Some behaviours are prosecutable others not; same result though.

Crashes have been caused for all sorts of, sometimes quite bizarre reasons, but that doesn't mean that selling stuff at service areas in packaging that clearly can cause mishaps any more excusable.

Perhaps you'd rather there was a free for all, anything goes attitude to what one can and can't do behind the wheel of a vehicle. I doubt that if one of your nearest and dearest was caught up in the consequences you would be quite so laisez faire (excuse my rubbish French spelling!).

Tankertrashnav
8th Mar 2018, 16:24
"laissez faire"

(assez bien, mon vieux ;))

uffington sb
8th Mar 2018, 16:55
In my company we are not allowed to use hands free. Not a problem if in a team of two or more, but we work alone, so we have to stop where itís safe to do so to answer/make calls.

ATNotts
8th Mar 2018, 17:04
"laissez faire"

(assez bien, mon vieux ;))

Not a bad attempt then, better than I thought!!

The Nip
8th Mar 2018, 17:40
- I would suggest loss of concentration for certain, and violet steering for another. What are they thinking of?

It has been known for a crash to happen due to a violent sneezing fit. So no drinking into the sun, then, or with a cold.
One of the other crash causes was a stricken mother turning round to calm screaming baby strapped in back seat.

Where will it end? Some behaviours are prosecutable others not; same result though.

Not difficult. You are responsible for your actions. It matters not what causes your actions, just that you are responsible. I wish people would stop trying to avoid/blame anything but their own actions. You drive - you are responsible.

chevvron
8th Mar 2018, 17:49
In my company we are not allowed to use hands free. Not a problem if in a team of two or more, but we work alone, so we have to stop where itís safe to do so to answer/make calls.

My present car came (second hand) with something called 'bluetooth'.
Now call me old fashioned if you like but I have no idea what it does, what it's for or how it works, all I know is it was a bloody nuisance and very distracting with a microphone dangling in front of my eyes and an LCD panel also in my peripheral vision so I cut the wires and removed both items.

treadigraph
8th Mar 2018, 18:19
What is disturbing is to follow a car, even in congested areas, where the driver and pax are natter-boxes and the driver insists on looking at the pax while talking. You can see their eyes are 'off the road' for perhaps 50% of the time.
A few minutes after I read that post, I was outside waiting for a bus - car went past with woman driver and passenger yakking and looking at each other... Tbe odd glance forrard by the driver, but not nearly enough if a kid had run out.

One of the other crash causes was a stricken mother turning round to calm screaming baby strapped in back seat.

Friend of my sister's did exactly that after visiting us on Christmas day many years ago; she was leaving early after her son went into serious spoiled little brat mode and carried right on as we waved them off down the road. Fortunately she missed my classic Dolly Sprint and put a dent into the neighbour's Sierra instead. He took it quite well; then again he had clearly enjoyed a lot of Christmas spirit! And the little brat was still screaming. Probably a snowflake now...

Blues&twos
8th Mar 2018, 19:45
I nearly had a 'distraction' accident a few weeks ago. It would have been entirely my fault. Country lane, approx 40mph behind a truck some distance in front of me, glanced at the speedo and noticed I had somehow switched it from speed display to radio display. Flicked the switch a few times to restore speed, looked up and the truck had stopped to turn right into a farm. Stood on the brakes, did a bit of eyes-on-stalks swerving about and just missed hitting the back of it.
Won't be doing that again.

Fareastdriver
8th Mar 2018, 19:55
What really annoys me is when you rent a car that has loads of gizmos and no handbook. You try and get somebody to explain them but they are too busy with somebody else. You spend the first half hour wondering how to stop it telling you things you don't want to know instead of concentrating on where you are going.

treadigraph
8th Mar 2018, 20:07
One of the cars I rented, I couldn't open the tail gate, eventually realised the button was part of the badge; on another the fuel filler cap lid was located somewhere down by the driver's right knee - hard to find from outside the vehicle. Gave up on the map/entertainment system on the last one I had... Lucky I knew where I was going.

Pontius Navigator
8th Mar 2018, 20:10
One of the other crash causes was a stricken mother turning round to calm screaming baby strapped in back seat.
One day driving up A34 in convoy our daughter leading. Suddenly she pulled over. Daughter had opened rear offside door at 70.

A few miles later she pulls over again. Senior dog taking chunks out of impertinent younger dog.

On the former, daughter insisted on sitting behind the driver. When she came in our car I explained back left meant she could see out better and we could see her. She accepted that.

Gertrude the Wombat
8th Mar 2018, 21:22
You're driving up the M1 and you decide to answer a call on your hands free mobile.
I wouldn't. Just because it might currently be legal doesn't mean it's a sensible thing to do.

ZOOKER
8th Mar 2018, 21:44
It's odd that you can't eat a sandwich whilst at the wheel, yet smokers are allowed to drive holding something which, is technically on fire.

The last time I changed my car, the salesman was more interested in telling me about how the 'entertainment'/phone connectivity system works, rather than where to put the oil/water/fluids etc.

jimtherev
8th Mar 2018, 22:01
The last time I changed my car, the salesman was more interested in telling me about how the 'entertainment'/phone connectivity system works, rather than where to put the oil/water/fluids etc.
Fair enough, actually, sorta. Like a good little Jim I do open the bonnet every month or so, but never have to top up water, oil or any other fluid, except the huuuuuuuge windscreen washer reservoir from time to time.
But the radio/phone/player thingie is not intuitive in operation, and a salesman or handbook are necessary for understanding.


Back to passengers in the car. I sometimes have to say to 'erindoors, 'Please shush. Too much happening; I can't concentrate with you wittering on.'
And she does, usually.

Gertrude the Wombat
8th Mar 2018, 22:35
But the radio/phone/player thingie is not intuitive in operation, and a salesman or handbook are necessary for understanding.
Went round to visit a mate of mine. He was sitting in his car in his garage trying to work out how to use all the gadgets on his new car.

We rented a car last week. It took me a couple of days to work out how to show the screen as a moving map, north up, without a voice telling me I was going the wrong way for whatever destination the previous renter had programmed. Most of that couple of days was finding out how to switch the menus to English (FSVO "English") ... which turned out to be only slightly more comprehensible than the Spanish it started in, but just enough more comprehensible for me to find the settings I wanted.

PLovett
9th Mar 2018, 00:22
What some may not know but the technology of being able to broadcast television pictures from racing cars was first developed in Australia. The first car to have a camera installed in it was a Toyota Celica being raced at Mt. Panorama. In time they also developed the capacity to talk to the drivers who could also respond. Now, obviously, this was hand-free, no having to push a button or flick a switch. The commentators would wait until the car was on one of the two extensive straights and call the driver and wait for him to respond. The interesting part is that the lap times when the driver was speaking would always be slower than when he wasn't. Not by much but around 1/10th second. Given the level of concentration a racing driver can bring to the game it is clear that speaking by itself is a distraction.

As to OP thread, getting a conviction from a jury for death by dangerous driving has always been notoriously hard as I suspect a jury has the thought in the back of their mind, "...there but for the grace of God go I" when the circumstances are like the OP described.