A woman who struck and killed a cyclist last year in Michigan of the US has been banned from having a mobile phone for two years.
23-year-old Mitzi Nelson collided with a cyclist while driving back in September 2014. She was distracted by her mobile when her car hit 35-year-old mother of two Jill Byelich, who was wearing a reflective vest, helmet and was in the correct position on the road, according to police reports.
Nelson now faces a two year probation period, which will bar her from owning and using a mobile and other portable communication devices, as well as a six-month jail sentence and 150 hours of community service after giving a non-contest plea in court.
Judge Stewart McDonald also suggested Nelson consider speaking at classes in schools about the dangers of driving while distracted to deter the drivers of the future.
Restitution of US$15,600 and fines of US$1,500 were also ordered, in addition to a year-long driving ban that has been in force since May 2015.
Husband Jordan Byelich suggested to judge that a phone ban was a good idea. The judge acknowledged the ruling could be challenged, but said it was more about sending a message to other motorists who still think the practice is acceptable.
Speaking in court, the judge said: “I don’t think she has a right to have a cell phone. I think it’s a privilege.” The judge did, however admit Nelson was sorry for her actions and it seems the husband believed it too, as he was seen hugging her after the hearing.
Mr Byelich said of the hearing: “I thought the judge thought it through very well and looked at all the factors on both sides.”