Lorry driver who checked mobile phone for 18 seconds causing death crash is jailed for five years

A lorry driver has been jailed for five years after he was caught checking his phone for 18 seconds prior to a fatal crash.

Recovery driver David Shields, 34, crashed into mum-of-four Yvonne Blackman’s car while in a line of traffic in Dumfries last February.

He had previously admitted a charge of death by dangerous driving.

Dashcam footage from his cab showed Shields, of Drongan, East Ayrshire, looking a his phone for a full 18 seconds in the lead-up to the fatal crash.

Sixty-six year old Mrs Blackman died in hospital several weeks after the crash.

Victim Yvonne Blackman (Police Scotland)
Victim Yvonne Blackman (Police Scotland)

The Lockerbie native was driving to meet friends when the fatal collision occurred on the morning of February 8, 2017.

She had become caught up in heavy traffic on the A75 Gretna to Stranraer road at the time of the tragedy.

Shields ploughed into the back of her Toyota Yaris in his recovery truck after getting caught in the same traffic. He was working for 911 Rescue Recovery.

Judge Lady Stacey told Shields: ‘I have seen a video of the crash and know you were paying heed to your mobile phone for 18 seconds,’ she said.
‘I know you did not intend the catastrophic result, but you should have known the terrible risk you were taking.’
In addition, Shields was banned from driving for seven years and six months.
Shields has apologised to Mrs Blackman’s family and was ‘ashamed’ about what happened on the fateful day.
Mrs Blackman’s husband, Ralph, a former professional driver, said he hoped the five-year jail term in relation to his wife’s case would send out a message to those who use their mobile phones while driving.
‘I hope this sentence deters any drivers from doing the same. They should realise the suffering and hurt it causes to the victim’s family,’ he said.
https://twitter.com/DumfriesGPolice/status/1045619408725569537He added: ‘Only a second’s inattention can be dangerous and he had 18 seconds with his eyes off the road,” he said.

Mrs Blackman also had 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.