A DONCASTER woman is behind bars today after she killed a young man while texting at the wheel of her car.
Susan Noble, a delivery driver for Network Rail, had sent two texts and read three others in the half-hour before the fatal crash on the A19 in North Yorkshire, last Christmas.
Road safety experts today welcomed the three-year jail sentence given to Noble.
And they said it ‘sends a clear message’ to drivers that using mobile phones while driving can lead to horrific consequences.
Noble, aged 29, of Reeves Way, Armthorpe, Doncaster, admitted causing death by dangerous driving when she appeared at Teesside Crown Court.
Alexandru Braninski, 25, a Romanian national, died in the collision on the A19 near Northallerton at 9.10pm on Tuesday, December 27, 2011.
Mr Braninski, who was from Bucharest but visiting relatives in the north-east, suffered traumatic injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene on the northbound carriageway between the A684 and the A172.
The collision involved a Skoda Octavia, which was parked at the side of the road after one of its tyres had punctured, and a Ford Fiesta van driven by Noble.
Mr Braninski was standing behind the Skoda while the wheel was being changed, when the Fiesta collided with him and pushed the car into a field at the side of the road.
Police investigators checked phone records and found Noble was using a mobile phone to exchange text messages with a friend.
The court heard although it was dark at the time, Noble should have been able to see the victim’s car for 14 seconds before the impact.
She had driven up to 600 miles that day.
Rod Hunt, defending Noble, said: “She has made a terrible mistake. She feels a tremendous sense of responsibility and grief towards the young man and his family.”
Noble was also banned from driving for six years and will have to take an extended driving test at the end of that period.
Sergeant John Lumbard, of North Yorkshire Police’s roads policing group, said: “Noble has fully accepted she is responsible for the tragic death of Mr Braninski due to a serious error of judgement.
“I want this tragedy to send a clear message to drivers that using mobile phones while driving can and does lead to horrific consequences.
“Research from around the world has shown time and time again that this behaviour does cause drivers to lose concentration on the road ahead.
“Ideally you should turn phones off while you are driving so you are not distracted by an unexpected call. However, If you must use a phone while on the move, it is essential you use a hands-free kit.
“As well as leaving one man dead, the collision has left a family grieving for their loss and a young woman with the knowledge that she is responsible for his untimely death.”