The wife of a man killed in a collision in 2016 is urging people not to use their phones whilst driving.
Julie Labbett the wife of Adam Gibb who was killed in 2016 is speaking six years on after his death.
Highways officers, Adam and his colleague Paul Holroyd were responding to an incident on the M6 at Shap when a driver lost control of his car.
Paul suffered a spinal injury leaving him paralysed from the chest down as a result of the collision.
The driver, Peter Morrison was found to be speeding in poor weather conditions whilst sending a steady stream of messages from his phone. He was jailed for a total of nine years.
Speaking six years on Adams’s wife Julie said: “Even though it is now nearly six years since Adam was killed it still feels like it was yesterday and I feel that the impact on our lives is still as great as it was then.
“I still get really angry when I see people using their phone while they are driving as it feels like they don’t care how they could impact on someone else’s life if they were to crash while using it as they are distracted.
“I guess people feel that it won’t happen to them but that isn’t true.
“I’m sure Morrison thought that, and his actions not only had a huge impact on our lives but also his and his family’s lives.
“I urge people not to use their phones while driving, no matter what the reason. The consequences can impact on people for the rest of their lives.
“I wonder if I will ever get over losing Adam in such a needless way and if Matthew will ever get over losing his dad who loved him so much and who he loved.”
Also speaking six years on Paul Holroyd said “It’s coming up to the six-year anniversary of when myself and my friend and colleague Adam went to work as normal not knowing how our lives would in Adam’s case be cut short and in mine sustain life changing injuries due to the actions of Peter Morrison.
“I am sure that Morrison also would never have imagined how his own life and that of his family and friends would change following his decision to use his vehicle as a mobile office. Taking and receiving calls and messages on his phone whilst speeding along the M6 motorway oblivious to the dangers of his actions was the worst decision he ever made. The “It will never happen to me” mindset didn’t go well.
“The impact on my and the day to day lives of my family and friends is still monumental. Being paralysed from the chest down I consider myself the lucky one, I am still here!
“But life is far from being a bed of roses, confined to a wheelchair is for me a life sentence with all of the medical and day to day problems that come with my condition, and why?
“Because Morrison couldn’t wait to pull over or finish his journey before using his phone.
“I still see people driving and chatting away on their phones, oblivious to what might happen and it sickens me to my stomach to watch, I get so angry because they have no idea about the carnage and utter devastation that can follow. In the blink of an eye their lives can change forever.
“The text from your partner asking you to pick milk up on your way home can wait, reading the text whilst driving might mean you never make it home again, ever!”
Today (Feb 21) the constabulary are supporting the National Police Chief Council’s operation to target the use of handheld devices whilst driving.
Driver distraction can be deadly and using a hand-held phone at the wheel is never worth the risk with drivers four times more likely to be involved in a collision.
Officers will be carrying out a week of action from the 21st to the 27th February to target drivers using mobile phones.
Chief Inspector Gill Cherry from Specialist Capabilities said “We see the devastating impact that driving distracted can have whether that be by a mobile or other device.
“I would urge everyone to look at their own behaviour whilst behind the wheel. If you ever find yourself reaching for your phone then you need to take action. Put your phone in the safest possible place for your journey – inside the glove compartment.
“Nothing is that urgent that you put your life, or the life of others at risk.
“If you do need to check your phone or take a call find a safe space to stop or put your phone away or on do not disturb.”
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “There is no excuse to check your phone when driving.
“Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings and potential hazards can come out of nowhere and have life altering consequences.
“Not only does the perpetrator put their own lives at risk but they also risk the lives of innocent road users and pedestrians.
“Put the phone away and get home safe – those who are caught on their phone while driving will face the consequences.”