Driver Snappers Criticised

17 August 2012, 11:48 | Updated: 17 August 2012, 12:01

Warning letters have been sent to 80 drivers caught using mobiles to take pictures of a serious crash on the M1 near Northampton.

Northamptonshire Police set up a camera to record those using phones to capture images of the crash on the northbound carriageway on Thursday 14 June 2012, which led to the closure of the road for 11 hours.

The crash at 6.20am involved a lorry being driven by a 21 year old woman who was trapped in the vehicle for four and a half hours, who remains critically ill in hospital, two months on.

Officers have now written to the owners of all of those vehicles to explain the person driving the vehicle at the time was found to be committing an offence and highlighting the dangers of that offence.

Sergeant Nick Gray from the Collision Investigation Unit, said: “After completing our investigations at the scene of the collision, we were astonished to see so many motorists using their mobile phones to capture an image of what was a horrific collision.

“Because of how badly the driver was trapped, we had a period of four hours before we could continue with our work and after witnessing the number of people using mobile phones decided to use a camera to film motorists travelling on the opposite carriageway. During those four hours we filmed 80 motorists using their phones to capture images of the collision.”

Sgt Gray added: “We have written to the owners of the vehicles where the driver found was using a camera and a formal record, including photographic evidence, will be retained.

“In a number of cases where the motorist was using a vehicle belonging to their employers, the employers have contacted us requesting more information so they can take internal disciplinary action.”

Sgt Gray said the Force had taken the decision not to prosecute the drivers, to try and educate them about the consequences of using a mobile phone while behind the wheel.

“Using your mobile phone while driving can and does lead to serious injury, and sometimes fatal, road traffic collisions. The drivers photographed showed a total disregard for the law and the devastation which would be caused to their own or another family in a fatal road traffic collision. Many of the drivers photograph would class themselves as ‘professional drivers’.

“I am astounded that people not only use their mobile phones to talk on while driving, but would also use them to take pictures, especially at the scene of such a serious road traffic collision.

“It is every motorist's responsibility to make sure they follow the law and no phone call, picture or text message is important than risking your own, or other road users' lives.”