Teacher launches petition to teach kids about dangers of using phone behind the wheel


A SCHOOL teacher whose boyfriend was killed in a car accident is campaigning for schools to teach children not to use mobile phones whilst driving.

Meg Williamson lost her partner Gavin Roberts when another motorist, Lewis Stratford crashed through a central reservation and collided into him in June 2016.

Stratford, 25, thought his girlfriend was cheating on him and was arguing with her on his mobile phone when he lost control of his vehicle.

Miss Williamson, an English teacher originally from Liverpool, came face to face with her Mr Stratford telling him she “forgave him” last year.

Now the 28-year-old is hoping to make it compulsory for children to be taught in lessons the dangers of using phones whilst driving.

At the moment most schools teach about the dangers of drink driving but after speaking with various teachers Meg discovered there is no mention of phones.

She has now set up a petition which aims to change the Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) element of the school curriculum to include educating pupils about this issue.

Speaking today, Meg said: “The issue is a massive one for me because of what happened and as I am a teacher myself.

“These days a phone is pretty much an extension of the arm and people think they can get away with using them.

“We constantly get notifications on our phones and people have a fear of missing out if they don’t check them straight away.”

Roberts was just 28 years of age when he was killed in the crash

Teaching school pupils about the effects of driving under the influence drink and drugs is already part of the school curriculum and Meg does think it helps children understand the effects.

The teacher said: “It has helped but it has taken years to implement it.”

Miss Williamson, who now lives and teaches in Bournemouth, could not believe after she had become a teacher that schools did not teach children about this issue.

She said: “I was so shocked when I realised. Teachers are constantly telling kids to put their phones away in schools as it can have an effect on their education.

“We know that it can have an effect on drivers, so it baffled me that we don’t teach them about this.”

Meg now hopes that her petition will catch the attention of the Department of Education, who have responsibility for the PSHCE curriculum in schools.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education today (fri) said: “We recently issued a call for evidence to hear the views of parents, teachers and young people to ask them what they think should be taught in the PSHE curriculum and the outcome of this will be available in due course.”

During Stratford’s trial, the court was told that he was speeding in an over-emotional state when the Vauxhall Corsa he was driving smashed into the central reservation of the A34 in Berkshire.

It then crossed over to the other side of the carriageway, crashing into the blue BMW being driven by Miss Williamson’s partner.

In the thirty minutes leading up to the crash, Stratford made a number of calls to his then-partner, accusing her of cheating on him.

He also admitted to the court that he drank a small amount of alcohol before the collision, however no breath sample was taken as a result of the injuries he suffered.

Mr Roberts was travelling to start a night shift at his job a railway electrical engineer when the accident occurred.

He was seriously injured and died in hospital four days later – aged just 28-years-old.

Williamson hopes her petition will catch the attention of the Department of Education

In Miss Williamson’s petition on Change.org, she explains how the way in which today’s generation’s increased use of mobile phones, particularly taking ‘selfies’, poses a bigger danger for road users.

The law prevents drivers from using a mobile phone whilst driving.

Drivers can receive six points on their license and a £200 fine if caught.

For drivers who have only passed their test in the last two years, this would result in them losing their license.

In court, a judge can ban someone from driving and fine offenders up to £1,000.

The most recent statistics from the Department of Transport, covering road casualties in 2015, say that 22 fatal accidents resulted from the driver causing the accident using their mobile phone.

The report does not specify whether those killed in these accidents were the driver of the car themselves, their passenger, another driver or pedestrian.

There were a further 418 road accidents in 2015 that occurred because of mobile phone use.

To sign the petition please visit https://www.change.org/p/department-of-education-teach-mobile-phone-awarness-in-schools