Jamie Morton is the NZ Herald's science reporter.

Crash victim's son supports phone warning

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

The teenage son of a Rotorua woman whose death in a car crash prompted a national campaign against texting and driving says more needs to be done to stop distraction behind the wheel.

Eliot Jessep yesterday said he accepted calls for awareness made by coroner Dr Wallace Bain in the findings into the death of his mother, 37-year-old Paula Jessep.

Ms Jessep was killed when the 4WD she was driving collided with another vehicle north of Tirau in heavy rain three days before Christmas in 2011.

A police officer later revealed he found Ms Jessep's cellphone in the driver's footwell of her car, with a half-written message on the screen.

In his findings, Dr Bain cited research showing that drivers using phones were four times more likely to cause a crash than other drivers.

Dr Bain recommended the Government "support and increase a public education campaign in respect of the dangers of driving whilst distracted, which includes the use of cellphones, texting and tiredness".

Eliot Jessep told the Weekend Herald he fully agreed with the findings. "More needs to be done about people being distracted whilst driving, it's not just texting."

Between November 2011 and last October, 12,528 fines were imposed for cellphone use while driving.

- NZ Herald

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