How does a haircut kill

You may be baffled by the title of this news item but read on.

The date is May 4th 2016. The pedestrian is crossing the road. The driver didn’t see her. The outcome was fatal.

There is limited information in this article but the Garda did not pursue a prosecution and the coroner has recorded death by misadventure. I cannot and do not apportion any blame here. That is for the Garda and the courts and they have determined there is no case to answer.

Yet there is something to learn. The police have to prove offences beyond reasonable doubt. We can often have a pretty good idea of what actually happened but sometimes the evidence we need to prove it eludes us.

The coroners verdict tends to suggest there was some lack of attention or poor crossing behaviour by the pedestrian too but why was she not seen?

We can only speculate but consider that the driver had been on a Skype video call prior to the collision. She said in court;

“My sister got a haircut and asked if she could Skype call so I could look at it.”

The call was terminated before the collision. Call finished or not. Should such a call have been taken whilst driving? No.

Does the call taken imply the driver had the potential to be distracted at other times? Yes

Did it show a propensity to use a mobile phone inappropriately in a car? Yes

The assumption is the phone was examined and no evidence found of calls or texts. However, there are countless other apps that could be sending alerts that caught the drivers attention. However, distractions are many and not just limited to mobile phones. It hasn’t helped the Garda in this case but it does highlight how difficult it can be to bring a prosecution in such cases.

Only the driver will fully know what happened on that day and that will now forever remain a mystery.

This tragic case highlights how difficult it can be, in such investigations, for the police to piece together the evidence.

Although the Skype call preceded the collision it serves as a reminder to us all. Using a mobile phone as driver is ALWAYS dangerous. The behaviour is embedded into many people who have no acknowledgement of the consequences.  The two cannot be linked in this case but in so many others they can be.

(pic credit Irish Examiner)

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