Tex­ting at the wheel? Why not go the whole hog and fire a gun out of the win­dow, too?

The Mail on Sunday - - Comment - Peter Hitchens

ANY­ONE who texts while driv­ing a car is a de­lib­er­ate killer. He or she knows the risks and can be said to have the in­tent to kill. The only thing that sep­a­rates this from mur­der is that the killer does not care whether or who he kills. He knows his ac­tion could be fa­tal, and he still does it. If he fails to kill any­one, he is morally no dif­fer­ent from a wouldbe mur­derer who shoots but misses.

If we ever did have the sense to re­store the death penalty, I would be happy to see it ap­plied to such per­sons, for ex­am­ple to Peter Mor­ri­son, whose mo­ronic, self­ish, sav­age be­hav­iour killed High­ways Eng­land traf­fic of­fi­cer Adam Gibb and paral­ysed his col­league Paul Hol­royd. These good men were out in filthy weather, try­ing to clear up af­ter an­other crash.

Mor­ri­son was driv­ing his show-off Mercedes car at an av­er­age speed of 81mph on the M6 in rain so heavy one wit­ness said it was like be­ing in a car wash. Yet he was seen shoot­ing past other cars ‘like a mis­sile’.

The killer, con­victed last week of caus­ing death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing, ad­mit­ted his use of a phone at the wheel was ‘ un­wise’. But he de­nied it was dan­ger­ous.

While he did this ghastly thing, he was pre­oc­cu­pied with foot­ball, send­ing 25 What­sApp mes­sages in 17 min­utes – one 96 sec­onds be­fore he slewed off the road to kill Mr Gibb and ruin many other lives be­sides.

Could this ‘hap­pen to any­one’? I do not think so. But some­thing like it could ‘hap­pen’ to some­one you know, to­day. And some­one else you know could be killed or ter­ri­bly in­jured as a re­sult. Ev­ery day, I still see peo­ple on their phones while driv­ing. And if I re­prove them, they jeer that I can do noth­ing about it be­cause the po­lice don’t care, which is true. Does any­one in this coun­try not yet know that it is dan­ger­ous to text while driv­ing? Is there the re­motest ex­cuse for this? Even at 20mph, those who do it risk killing or in­jur­ing a child on a sub­ur­ban road.

What will stop them do­ing it? It makes me so an­gry that I am tempted to sug­gest a few pub­lic hang­ings at mo­tor­way ser­vices, with the killers’ heads left to rot on spikes along the cen­tral reser­va­tion, Game Of Thrones style. But even I recog­nise this is go­ing a bit far.

LET us com­pro­mise on the rein­tro­duc­tion of po­lice traf­fic pa­trols, which have van­ished as to­tally as po­lice foot pa­trols. Speed cam­eras do not re­motely make up for their dis­ap­pear­ance. And they have dis­ap­peared. A friend of mine re­cently drove from Lon­don to Glas­gow and did not see one pa­trol car. I am sure this is quite typ­i­cal. I know they are busy paint­ing their nails and do­ing Gay Pride pa­rades, but couldn’t they spare a few hours for this task as well? It is no good mak­ing the fines big­ger and big­ger, as we keep do­ing, if peo­ple are con­fi­dent they will never be caught.

If the mo­ron Mor­ri­son had been caught tex­ting, and prop­erly pun­ished, he wouldn’t now be the bro­ken, as­ton­ished crea­ture he is, amazed at the con­se­quences of his own folly and doubt­less full of self­pity. And his vic­tims would still be happy and healthy, and their fam­i­lies would not be dev­as­tated. Yet some­how it is no­body’s pri­or­ity to do any­thing about this.

HAP­PIER THAN THE REAL THING: An artist at work on Mrs May’s wax­work

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