Hands-free driver jailed

|News, Driving offences

A driver has been sentenced to three years in prison for causing death by dangerous driving while using a hands-free mobile phone.

Samantha Ayres, from Horncastle, caused the death of David Kirk when she drove on the wrong side of the road in Horsington, Lincolnshire. Her car collided head-on with Mr Kirk's motorbike and he was killed instantly. Prior to the collision, Ayres had been on the phone to a friend for about 27 minutes, using a hands-free kit.

Ayres pleaded not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, claiming she had lost control by hitting mud, grass or a pothole, but evidence from the scene showed there were no such hazards on the road.

The CPS rejected her offer of a plea to causing death by careless driving and she was convicted of the more serious offence on 30 November at Lincoln Crown Court. Today (6 December) she was also banned from driving for four and a half years.

Janine Smith from the CPS said: "The evidence in this case showed clearly that Samantha Ayres caused Mr Kirk's death and that her driving had been far below the standard of a careful and competent driver. When the collision took place, her entire car was on the wrong side of the road, on a bend. At the time she was 27 minutes into a phone conversation.

"Using a mobile phone on a hands-free set is not in itself an offence, however, Mr Kirk lost his life because of Ayres' dangerous driving and the only explanation for it was the level of distraction caused by her phone call. We presented evidence to the court to show how a phone call, even on hands free, affects attention to the road due to a reduction in eye movement.

"Our thoughts are with Mr Kirk's family and friends."

Notes to editors

  1. Janine Smith is Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East Midlands
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  3. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233

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