A Shirebrook lorry driver who was typing on his phone when he ploughed into the back of a tractor has been jailed for two years and four months.
Michael Morton had been driving a lorry one-handed while using his other to read and reply to texts and search the internet on his smartphone.
He was travelling at a speed of about 50mph – near the top speed possible in his vehicle – when he failed to see a tractor in the same lane until the last second.
Morton’s vehicle smashed into the rear of the tractor, which was towing machinery, and then careered into the central reservation before eventually coming to a stop.
The tractor driver – a 58-year-old man – was thrown from his cab and suffered multiple serious injuries. He was airlifted to the QMC in Nottingham and was treated for injuries including six broken ribs, spinal fractures and a lacerated scalp.
Morton, from Alder Way, Shirebrook, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was today jailed for two years and four months at Nottingham Crown Court. He was also banned from driving for four years and four months.
The 45-year-old’s sentence comes on the first day of a week of campaigning, aimed at reminding drivers about the dangers of using a phone while at the wheel.
Earlier this year, the penalty for being caught committing the offence doubled from a £100 to £200, and from three points on a licence to six.
Detective Sergeant Darren Muggleton, from our serious collision investigation unit, said this case showed how bad the consequences can be.
He said: “Michael Morton showed a despicable disregard for the safety of other road users by using his phone for such an extended time while at the wheel of a lorry.
“Dashcam footage recorded him from the moment he set off from a depot in Lichfield to the moment he struck the back of the tractor in Derbyshire.
“During that journey, Morton spent the majority of the time with his phone his hand, often typing on it and looking at the screen instead of the road for extended periods.
“The tractor driver suffered a number of serious injuries and it’s no stretch to say that he could have been killed.
“Regardless of the size of the vehicle, anyone who uses their phone while driving is putting their own life at serious risk, as well as the lives of others.
“Cars, vans and lorries require your attention at all times. Reading a text, posting on Facebook, changing the track you’re listening to – none of these are anywhere near as important as a life.
“The call, text or whatever else can wait. And if you don’t think that applies to you, then you could end up in the same position as Michael Morton – in prison.”