Tuesday, 1 November 2016


I drove to work yesterday morning, a journey of some fifteen miles, unremarkable except perhaps for the fog - quite thick in places. For part of the journey I was queueing in stationary traffic.

Whilst aware of what was happening in front of me I could also see quite clearly what was happening in the cabs/behind the windscreens of the vehicles passing me in the opposite direction. I counted half a dozen pairs of eyes looking anywhere but the road ahead. (I suppose that makes seven, if you count mine. But I wasn't going anywhere at the time.)

Some were texting. One driver was opening a sandwich. Another looked as though he was opening a map.

This man - Tomasz Kroker - was changing the music on his mobile phone when he ploughed into the back of a stationery car on the A34 in Berkshire, earlier this year killing all the occupants - a mother and three children, returning from a camping trip to Devon.

Thames Valley Police has worked with the bereaved relatives to produce a video in an attempt to highlight the huge dangers of even a moment's distraction. These stills are taken from the video. I'm not going to show the video or even link to it, partly because it is horrific, partly because of the highly inappropriate and offensive ad for Disneyworld - of all places - that preceded it when I clicked on YouTube.

Kroker was yesterday given a ten year jail term. The judge said he might as well have had his eyes closed. Ten years doesn't seem much for four lives. Especially when you compare it to sentences handed down to those who commit serious crimes which nevertheless don't involve death and serious injury.

As I drove home from work the fog had lifted. The sun was shining. The news on the radio told of the tragedy so obvious in these stills. And yet there remained drivers passing by on the A17 studying their phones, reading maps, holding clipboards and otherwise paying no attention to the road ahead of them. I suppose I was one of them, horrified, like a rabbit caught in the headlights, unable to move, unable to believe what I was seeing.

What more needs to be said?

What more can be done?

It's heartbreaking.

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