TWO Haydon Bridge parents are calling for stricter penalties for those using their mobile phones while driving.

Louis McGovern (30) was killed after a van driver hit him. Louis was travelling through a junction in Stockport in 2019 when he was hit by Kurt Sammon who had skipped a red light and made and received text messages during his journey. He had also made a phone call, which lasted 57 seconds, and had also attempted to make two outgoing calls, which didn’t connect.

At Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on June 1, Sammon was sentenced to seven years in jail. He was also disqualified from driving for 13-and-a-half years.

It is heartbreaking to hear of the pain the McGovern family feel after losing their son, brother and boyfriend.

In statements read out in court, Louis’ father Mark, mother Christine and brother James all said how their lives would never been the same again. Louis’ girlfriend Lauren James also described how her life had been “changed forever”.

It is utterly devastating that the careless action of another can cost a life and the upset felt by the McGovern family should serve as a good a wake-up call as any to anybody even so much as tempted to use their mobile on the roads.

Sending a text, replying to a Snapchat or trying to call a family member may seem like the most important thing in the world at the time, but they can all wait until you’re stationary.

No matter how long you’ve been driving or how confident you may feel behind the wheel, a single lapse in concentration can be the difference between life and death and have devastating consequences for all parties.

Driving while using a mobile phone attracts only six points on a licence and a £200 fine – the maximum sentence for mobile phone use while driving.

Louis’ family has launched a petition to see penalties on par with those for drink-driving and a mandatory ban.