Police are launching a hard hitting video to warn motorists of the dangers of driving while using a mobile phone.
The East Midlands Operational Support Service (EMOpSS) provides roads policing and collision investigation to the communities of Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire. It also provides armed policing response, firearms training and specialist search skills and dog support.
On the evening of Tuesday 25 November 2014, a 38-year-old woman, who was making calls on her mobile phone, lost control of her car as she was driving southbound on the M1 in Leicestershire. Her vehicle collided with an HGV which lost control and crossed over the central reservation where it struck a BMW, travelling in the opposite direction. The driver of the BMW died.
Eight vehicles were caught up in the collision, three people were taken to hospital with minor injuries and the driver of one of the cars, Liese Bowers-Straw from Kirkby in Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, sustained serious injuries for which she is still receiving ongoing medical care.
A 38-year-old woman was sentenced to five years in prison in July 2016 after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice.
According to BRAKE, the road safety charity, more than two in five crashes are thought to be caused, at least in part, by driver distraction. If you talk on a phone at the wheel – hands-free or hand-held – your risk of causing an injury or death is four times higher. Use a phone to text, email or browse the internet and the risk is even higher still.
On the night of Tuesday 25 November 2014 Liese Bowers-Straw (pictured) was driving north on the M1 on her way back from work. Her car was hit head on in the collision and she broke her neck in two places, tore the muscles across her hips and stomach, lost her teeth, suffered a brain injury and suffered psychological trauma so severe she has been unable to leave her home in twenty months. She cannot look at or get in a car and has to close the curtains if she goes into a room at the front of her house because she cannot look at the road. She is a prisoner in her own home.
She’s agreed to take part in a video warning motorists of the dangers of driving while using a mobile phone. She said; “If I can stop just one other person suffering what I have suffered then it will be worthwhile. I remember seeing the headlights coming towards me where headlights shouldn’t be and I remember thinking that’s it, I’m a goner, I’m dead and then I don’t remember anything until the following day.
“The collision has completely changed my way of life. I have gone from having a career I loved, having a job that I loved, doing a lot of work, to being a prisoner in my own home doing absolutely nothing.
“Just think before you pick that mobile phone up. Is that text or call that important? Is that text or call worth a life? I don’t think so.”
Detective Constable Pete Davies was the investigating officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU). He said; “This was the largest collision site I have ever been to and it was a shock to see. It involved eight vehicles and the collision scene stretched for miles. As police officers we are constantly warning people about the dangers of distracted driving but I hope when people hear Liese’s story they will finally take notice.
“Texting, accessing the internet are all things that should not be done while driving. The roads are so busy now that I think people should concentrate on the road not on their phone nothing is that important that it cannot wait.
“Someone died in this collision and Liese has been left with the most appalling injuries as a result of someone who was too selfish to wait to make a call. When you have to knock on a door and tell someone that their loved one is not coming home then you realise just how damaging using a mobile phone can be.”