A man has been jailed for three years after killing a cyclist while he was talking on his mobile phone after 17 hours at the wheel.
The 28-year-old defendant was also speeding when he collided with his 57-year-old victim, sending him flying into a hedgerow on the A50.
James Moore, prosecuting, told the court that at 7.50pm the cyclist was part of a group of 16 members of a cycling club who were taking part in a time trial when the accident occurred.
The van driver, who had previous convictions for driving without due care and attention, had been on the phone to a friend for around 30 minutes at the time of the accident. It was not possible to say, however, whether or not he had been using a hands-free device.
The man had been at the wheel for 17 hours, having started work at three o’clock that morning and travelled 600 miles when he hit the former council worker at 69mph – 9mph over the speed limit for his vehicle.
In addition to driving without due care, the defendant also had previous convictions for failing to stop following an accident, failing to report an accident, and driving while using a mobile phone. He had been subject to a six-month driving ban and had 11 points on his licence.
“[The victim] was a regular and experienced rider and, very sadly, as a result of the collision he was projected between 35m and 40m into hedgerow at the side of the road and suffered fatal injuries,” explained Mr Moore.
“The visibility was excellent, the weather conditions were dry and the road was light with traﬃc.
“There were no defects on [the driver’s] vehicle that would have contributed to the cause of the collision.
“One witness who was behind the vehicle being driven by [the defendant], importantly, described how he did not swerve or brake and following the collision he continued on as though he was unaware a collision had taken place.”
It was nearly a mile later when the van driver did finally pull over, with witnesses describing him as “visibly upset”.
Mr Moore said: “He started work that day at 3am and had driven in excess of 600 miles.
“He would have been suffering signiﬁcant elements of fatigue.
“Evidence also shows he had been talking to a friend on his mobile phone for 32 minutes and that call ended ﬁve seconds after the collision.
“In summary, we say he did not divert from his course, he clearly did not see [the victim], but he should have.”
The court heard that the driver had been working such long hours because he was employed under a zero-hour contract.
Nicholas Syfret, mitigating, explained that his client was a father-of-two, aged six and nine, saying he was “a responsible and doting father whose family ties were very much the centre of his life.”
“It is very hard for those who are the victims of a person’s criminal behaviour to appreciate that person can be a very nice, very decent, human being.
“Why did this accident happen?
“The only rational explanation is that he did not see the cyclist.
“He should have done, others did.”
Judge Shaun Smith QC said: “There is no price on human life, there never can be. I have heard how [the victim] was a good man, a popular man who, along with his wife, lived an active life and who made a positive contribution to society.
“Tragically, he died as a result of the way you drove on that day which was way below an acceptable standard.
“Other drivers had no problem negotiating him and the other cyclists who were taking part in a time trial that day. You, however, did not swerve and did not deviate from your path when you struck him.”
The man, who had recently moved to Kings Lynn, Norfolk, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He was sentenced to three years in jail.
About Carl Millar
Carl Millar is a highly respected and experienced drink driving solicitor who is the principal of Millars Solicitors.
Carl has been a specialist in road traffic law for many years and represents clients from all walks of life and all over the Country. He is well known for the dogged defending of his clients and robust cross examination of police officers and exert witnesses.
With a wealth of expertise in motoring law Carl is well placed to provide advice over the phone and deal with all road traffic matters in a calm and professional way.
Getting in contact with Carl and Millars Solicitors is really easy. You can call him FREE on 0800 999 5535 or in an emergency you can call on 07732 054827.