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Phone text crash man's amazing recovery

PUBLISHED: 13:00 20 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:17 02 July 2010

As Norfolk police carry out a high profile crackdown on drivers who use their mobiles while behind the wheel, Arron Randall told how his life was almost destroyed by a driver who flouted the law.

As Norfolk police carry out a high profile crackdown on drivers who use their mobiles while behind the wheel, Arron Randall told how his life was almost destroyed by a driver who flouted the law.

Mary Hamilton

A young man who almost lost his leg after a horror crash caused by a driver using their mobile phone today spoke of his remarkable battle to defy doctors and walk again.

A young man who almost lost his leg after a horror crash caused by a driver using their mobile phone today spoke of his remarkable battle to defy doctors and walk again.

As Norfolk police carry out a high profile crackdown on drivers who use their mobiles while behind the wheel, Arron Randall told how his life was almost destroyed by a driver who flouted the law.

Mr Randall, 32, was on a motorcycle when a driver texting on her mobile phone went over a red light in Mousehold Lane and crashed into him, throwing him into the air and snapping all the ligaments in his leg.

Doctors told the former Taverham High School pupil that he would need to have his leg amputated, which would have been a crushing blow for Mr Randall, team captain of the Norwich Union staff rugby team and a keen Thai boxer.

But he was determined to fight and underwent three operations over the next six months to rebuild the joint.

“I saw three doctors and two of them wanted to amputate,” he said. “Then I saw the consultant Neil Walton, and he saw how determined I was and my fighting spirit.

“He said it was the biggest knee reconstruction he'd ever done. The longest operation was seven hours working to reconstruct all the ligaments.”

He was unable to put weight on the leg for weeks, and at first his partner Suzi, 25, had to care for him constantly, even helping him to roll over in bed as he could not move unaided.

“It was terrible,” he said. “I was a young man of 25, I was heavily into sports, and I couldn't believe they wanted to take my leg.

“But I knew right from the start that I was going to walk again. My doctor is still surprised every time he sees me - he told me I would have a severe limp for the rest of my life. But I walk normally now.”

Mr Randall, who lives in Sandy Lane, Taverham, told the Evening News his story because he wanted to explain how reckless drivers could ruin lives just for the sake of answering a mobile phone call or checking a text.

He said: “It destroys lives. I would ask anyone who thinks about using their phone while driving: please, please don't.

“It might only be a few seconds but that can have a massive impact on someone's life.”

Mr Randall believes an easier reporting system could help cut the number of drivers who use mobile phones and help prevent similar accidents happening again - and that mobile phones themselves could be the answer if pictures of offenders could be used as evidence.

Mr Randall worked as a sales advisor for Moneyfacts.com, but since leaving the job in 2008 he and his wife have both become part-time scuba diving instructors - an interest that began as a way for Mr Randall to get exercise without putting weight on his leg.

“It's been a really positive experience for me,” he said. “Even though I can't run or sprint on land, in the water I'm as fit as the next man.

“A year ago I thought I was fully recovered, but I just keep getting stronger - I have just started cardio training for the first time since the accident. I keep improving.”

When the accident happened Mr Randall was saving for an engagement ring, but it was not until after he was recovered that he proposed to Suzi.

“I walked into the wedding ceremony last year and it was the best day of my life,” he said. I felt like I had made it. To be able to do that and then to go on the travels we have been on together is wonderful.

“There were times people said I would never be able to do it but on that day everything I worked for, everything I put myself and my family and friends through, it was all worth it.”

Have you had a life-changing experience? Call reporter Mary Hamilton on 01603 772418 or email mary.hamilton@archant.co.uk

This month Norfolk police are cracking down on phoning while driving with a new enforcement campaign.

A radio and poster advertising campaign has been telling drivers to “zip it behind the wheel” and that “distracted drivers cause destruction”.

This week alone 93 drivers have been pulled over for using their mobiles while on the move, and last week the Evening News reported that 139 motorists had been spotted in the first two weeks of the police campaign - 232 people in just three weeks.

Each offender was given a £60 fixed penalty notice and had their licence endorsed with three penalty points.

In total 2,537 drivers were prosecuted in Norfolk for using their mobile phone whilst driving in 2009 - an increase of nearly 500 drivers from the 2,042 prosecuted during 2008.

Research by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) shows drivers are four times more likely to crash if they are using a mobile phone.

Legislation prohibiting the use of hand held mobiles while behind the wheel has been in force since December 1, 2003.

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