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Road traffic Accident kills Fast and Furious actor

By Principal Lawyer, Serious Injury

This weekend brought the tragic news that Paul Walker, star of the Fast and Furious films, had been killed in a road accident explains Personal Injury Solicitor Carol Hopwood.

Dreadful news for all concerned and sadly not the only fatality I read of this weekend. My immediate thoughts always shift to the families left behind and the impact that such an event has upon their lives. Plans and dreams for the future are snatched away and they become part of a group that no one would ever want to become a member of. Life is never the same.

Any loss of life is difficult to come to terms with, but when it is sudden and could have been avoided, acceptance is very difficult. It is even more difficult to come to terms with when the cause is something as trivial as sending or reading a text message, updating a social media site or talking on a mobile phone. If only the driver had pulled over or waited to the end of the journey to deal with the call, many lives could be saved. It simply isn’t worth the cost of a life.

Too many times I have been called to advise families whose loved ones have been killed or very seriously injured in Road Traffic Accidents where drivers who have been speeding, drinking or using their mobile phone whilst driving. What is so frustrating is that in most cases the accident could have been avoided. Brake, the road safety charity, recently launched a safety campaign encouraging drivers to turn off their phone or put them in the boot. According to Brake; Distraction reduces hazard perception and increases reaction time in a similar way to drink driving.   

Talking on a hand held or hand free phone, texting, emailing, adjusting satellite navigation, eating, drinking, applying makeup and smoking are all proven to increase the crash risk.

My experience of dealing with families in this situation is that no amount of money will compensate for the life lost and it is very difficult to talk of the value of a life in monetary value, but that is the stark reality of the limit of the law and when the cause of that loss has been the use of a mobile phone or a text message it makes such loss even more difficult to come to terms with.

Too many lives are lost on our roads. We must all take responsibility for our actions. Better to be late returning a call or text than being responsible for the death or serious injury of a fellow human being.