Page last updated at 09:22 GMT, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Mother calls for text driving ban

Victoria McBryde
Victoria McBryde was sitting in her car when it was smashed into

The family of a woman killed by a driver who was sending a text message is campaigning for tougher laws for motorists caught using mobile phones.

Philippa Curtis, 21, smashed into the back of a stationary car at 70mph on the A40 in Oxfordshire, killing 24-year-old Victoria McBryde.

Ms McBryde's mother Jennifer Ford said texting should be treated like drink driving and lead to an automatic ban.

The family is looking for support from the public on social networking sites.

Currently, anyone caught using a mobile phone while driving is given a 60 fine and gets three penalty points on their licence.

I have been left with a black hole in my heart
Jennifer Ford, victim's mother

"This is not a deterrent," Ms Ford told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

"It should be the same as drink driving.

"I have been left with a black hole in my heart."

Curtis, of Bury St Edmunds, was found to have sent 20 texts and had taken two phone calls before crashing in November 2007.

One unopened text was on her phone and it is thought she was trying to look at it when her car ploughed into Miss McBryde's car.

She was sentenced to 21 months in jail and given a three-year driving ban for causing death by dangerous driving.

The Attorney General is currently reviewing the sentence.

Her lawyers said she and her family are "distraught" over what happened and are "desperately sorry".

Ms Ford and her daughter Charlotte are running an online petition on the Downing Street website, Facebook and Twitter to try to get a change in the law.



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