M6 mobile phone crash victim calls for tougher penalty

  • 26 February 2018

Paul HolroydImage copyright Paul Holroyd
Image caption Paul Holroyd worked as a traffic officer for Highways England

A traffic officer paralysed by a driver who had been using his mobile phone has called for tougher penalties regardless of whether there is a crash.

Paul Holroyd was hit by football agent Peter Morrison on the M6 in Cumbria.

Mr Holroyd said drivers were not deterred by the current penalties for using a hand-held phone while driving.

“It should be on the same level as drink driving: you should be banned,” he said in his first interview since Morrison was sentenced.

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Media captionPaul Holroyd calls for tougher text-driving penalties

Morrison, 37, from Worsley, Salford, was jailed for seven years for causing death by dangerous driving – he was speeding and texting before the crash in February 2016.

Mr Holroyd, 53, from Kirkby Stephen, was left paralysed from the chest down. His colleague Adam Gibb, 51, from Penrith, was killed.

The two Highways England traffic officers were supervising the recovery of two previously crashed vehicles on the hard shoulder when they were hit.

“All I remember is just a bang and being laid on the back of the recovery truck,” Mr Holroyd said.

“It just all happened so quickly.”

‘People can wait’

He did not know Morrison had been speeding and texting until Morrison first appeared in court.

Mr Holroyd had seen so many accidents on the motorway that, until then, he “almost felt sorry for him, because it can happen to anybody”, he said.

Seeing other drivers using their phones now makes him angry, sad and worried.

“I would just like people to stop using their phones while they’re driving,” he said.

“It’s not a massive ask. People can wait.”

You can see more on this story on Inside Out on BBC One in the North East and Cumbria at 19:30 GMT or via iPlayer for 30 days afterwards.

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