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Ban drivers who text behind the wheel say parents of killed triathlete

Van driver admitted sending texts but was cleared of causing death by dangerous driving

The parents of killed triathlete Daniel Squire have called for those who text behind the wheel to be banned from driving. 18-year-old Squire was riding on the A258 at Ringwould in Kent when he was hit and killed by a van driven by Philip Sinden. Although Sinden admitted exchanging texts with his girlfriend immediately before the incident, he was cleared of causing death by dangerous driving and of causing death by careless driving.

Speaking to the BBC, Daniel’s mother, Tracy, said: "If you are caught drink-driving you lose your licence. No questions asked. For me, if you are either on your phone or texting on your phone you have lost your liberty to drive."

During the trial, the court heard that Sinden had sent 19 texts and received 22 from his girlfriend between 6.07am and 8.32am. He and his girlfriend continued texting until she sent a message at 8.39.49 and he was alleged to have composed a message at around 8.40am which was never sent. Squire was hit at around 8:40am.

Sinden, however, claimed that he had not been distracted by his phone. He said that he had been texting using his left hand, typing without looking at the phone so as to keep his attention on the road. He claimed that Squire had unexpectedly joined the carriageway from the pavement and that this was what had brought about the incident.

Daniel's father, Symon, said that people needed to take responsibility for their actions with regards to mobile phone use in cars. "People need to make a moral stand and say, 'It is dangerous, there are consequences and I don't want to take the risk'."

Tracy Squire said she had been unable to visit Daniel’s grave since the court case. "I don't know how to explain this to him, because he is lying in there and I can't do anything to help him any more. We are right back to where we were on the day he lost his life – nothing has changed."

Last year, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) denied press reports claiming that officers had been instructed to seize mobile phones at all road traffic collisions, but insisted it was taking the issue seriously. It is currently standard practice to seize mobile phones from drivers at the scenes of very serious collisions as part of the information and evidence gathering process.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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