She should have faced charges: top traffic cop's verdict on fatal accident Special (From Bournemouth Echo)
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She should have faced charges: top traffic cop's verdict on fatal accident Special
A TOP Dorset traffic cop says the special constable involved in a fatal collision while on her mobile phone should have been prosecuted.
Collette Carpenter was involved in a conversation with her partner when her Peugeot 206 collided with motorcyclist David Bartholomew.
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An inquest heard Miss Carpenter, formerly of Colehill, initially denied using her phone during the journey but later admitted she had used it throughout the entire journey on loudspeaker, positioned on her lap.
Details of the case were submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service who decided not to prosecute after the collision on the A31 Ferndown bypass on March 20 last year.
Inspector John Mallace, of Dorset Police’s traffic unit, told the Echo: “The legislation in my view is quite clear. She was using a hand-held mobile device while driving which is illegal.
“We submitted the file to the CPS but they took the decision not to prosecute.
“The legislation is quite clear that if you have to touch the hand-held device at any point in order to action the call then it’s not hands-free.
“People are negligent with their mobile phones. Even on the way to the inquest court with Mr Bartholomew's family in the car I saw a lorry driver with no hands on the wheel using his mobile phone.”
Insp Mallace said research has shown that using a mobile phone while driving is more distracting than being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
He said the county’s No Excuse campaign, which uses a combination of enforcement and education, had seen a marked reduction in fatal and seriously injured casualties.
Insp Mallace said: “People know they shouldn’t use their mobile phone while driving and that if they do they are putting themselves and innocent members of the public at risk.”
He added: “It is inherently dangerous.
“There are far more people killed on the roads in Dorset than are murdered and people need to be aware that driving is a privilege and they need to think about how they are driving. We all do.”
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Bartholomew’s partner of 12 years Lindsey Witcombe said: “I would just like to thank everyone for their supportive comments.
“I do feel the need to point out that the investigating officers who presented this case to the Crown Prosecution Service and then subsequently appealed the decision not to prosecute, have tried their utmost to get justice for David and get this heard in a court of law. The CPS seems to have appointed themselves both judge and jury and disallowed its progress.”