A Northants police officer said he was “extremely annoyed” after seeing drivers taking photographs on a serious crash on the M1 and warned the force will continue to prosecute offenders.
Detective Sergeant Alex Massey, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, is urging drivers to have more consideration for people involved in bad accidents, after witnessing “insensitive” and “disrespectful” behaviour on the M1 last month.
A 40-year-old man from North Yorkshire was seriously injured in a collision, which happened on Wednesday June 29, at about 7pm, on the southbound carriageway, a few miles past junction 15 for Northampton.
While emergency services were dealing with the incident, officers noticed a lot of motorists on the northbound carriageway taking footage of the incident on their mobile phones.
DS Massey said he was “extremely annoyed” that people were taking photographs of such a serious incident, where others may have been badly injured or even killed.
“It continues to amaze me that some people choose to be so disrespectful,” he said.
“People were actually taking photos of the area where the motorcyclist was being treated by medics. Often we’re able to screen scenes off from passing traffic but on this occasion we were unable to due to the layout of the scene. Yet people still felt it was okay to take photographs as they drove by.
“There were several people at the scene who had helped and stayed with the injured man. Many had witnessed the collision – they were already hugely upset by what they had seen and were both shocked and angered by the behaviour and insensitivity of other motorists.”
DS Massey said because the team were busy dealing with the collision, they were unable to record details of drivers taking photographs.
However they did photograph some of the offenders.
He said: “We have prosecuted motorists for this type of unacceptable behaviour before and we will continue to do so. In the future I will endeavour to position one of our vehicles so we can record the opposite carriageway and ‘all’ offending drivers.”
The officer went on to remind drivers that using a mobile phone while driving can and does lead to serious injury and sometimes fatal collisions.
DS Massey added: “The insensitivity aside, the drivers who took photographs that day all gambled with their own and other people’s safety. Even a minor collision on the opposite carriageway would have caused even further delays.
“Using a mobile phone while at the wheel is a criminal offence and motorists can get points put on their licence and a fine. The M1 is one of the busiest roads in the country and I am giving fair warning to anyone driving through this county that this behaviour will not be tolerated.”