When Crime and Texting Meet


The NY Times released this tragic story of a woman killed by a texting driver. The article discusses Victoria McBryde’s death in order to highlight newly enforced British laws that stipulate prison sentences for crashes involving drivers using their cell phones–including calls and texting. What is interesting is the description of the driver, Phillipa Curtis, in relation to her prison sentence:

“She came across as a lovely young girl, and I’m sure it wasn’t a nice feeling for the judge to send someone like this to prison — but someone is dead because of a text message,” said Bill Sykes, the officer who responded to the crash and led the subsequent investigation.

But many young people, among them the dead woman’s own siblings and friends, disagreed, sympathizing also with Phillipa Curtis. “I think Phillipa’s sentence was long enough, as she seemed like such a normal girl,” said Gemma Pancoust, the victim’s cousin and close friend, with whom she liked to sing karaoke to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.” “Until Tory’s death I texted while driving, as have most people. I don’t think she realized the danger she was causing.”

How do we relate to the criminal justice system? This begs the question of who does the system serve and who do we expect to see go through it?



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