Jailed peer 'got away lightly'

Road safety campaigners have said the Labour peer jailed for 12 weeks for sending a series of text messages as he drove along a motorway "got away relatively lightly".

Not only will Lord Ahmed, 51, face a custodial sentence but he now faces expulsion from his party after he took part in a "conversation by text" minutes before he was involved in an unrelated fatal crash on the M1 in South Yorkshire.

Sarah Fatica, from road safety charity Brake, said the prison term sends a clear message to drivers who persist in using their mobile phones at the wheel.

According to the director of the RAC Foundation, Professor Stephen Glaister, research has found that texting while driving leads to much greater impairment than being over the drink-drive limit.

He said: "The job of alerting drivers to the very real dangers of being distracted at the wheel, particularly when they use mobile phones, has to be a priority for the Government."

Research conducted in September 2008 found 48% of UK drivers aged between 18-24 sent texts whilst driving, however the professor added that the case of Lord Ahmed shows texting is not just a problem limited to the young motorists.

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