DRIVE FOR JUSTICE CAMPAIGN: Killing someone with your car like “manslaughter or even murder”
“If you killed someone with anything other than a vehicle, you would be charged with manslaughter or even murder.”
A leading road safety charity is backing this newspaper’s Drive For Justice Campaign, launched last week, calling for changes in the law to make sentencing fit the crime for those who kill or seriously injure people on our roads.
Around five people are killed on the roads each day and families who lose a loved one in such a sudden and violent way describe their loss as feeling “like they have been murdered.”
However, drivers who kill have been sentenced to an average of just four years in prison with dozens escaping jail altogether, an investigation has revealed and not a single person has been handed the maximum 14-year sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.
Gary Rae, campaigns director at road safety charity Brake, says: “Brake is supporting the Drive for Justice campaign for tougher sentences because as a charity we see first-hand what families go through after the devastating loss of a loved one due to a dangerous driver.
“On top of the raw pain of the loss, the bereaved friends and relatives suffer further due to a lack of help and support.
“The final insult can then be when the criminal driver responsible is given a sentence that the family feel simply doesn’t fit the crime.
“In many cases - 40 per cent - there is no custodial sentence at all.
“If a driver is jailed, the average term is four years, but that means they would be released again after just two.
“Every day in Great Britain, five lives are lost in road crashes.
“Losing someone this way is often likened to experiencing a murder: it’s sudden, shocking and violent.
“But in terms of justice, criminal drivers are not treated like other killers.
“If you killed someone with anything other than a vehicle, you would be charged with manslaughter or even murder.
“Driving crimes are still be perceived, by some, to be second class crimes.
“It’s now time for our laws to catch up with public opinion on criminal driving that costs lives.
“In September, the Prime Minister Theresa May promised a review into criminal driving laws would start before the end of the year, after acknowledging there is an issue here.
“There are just a few weeks of this year left, and still we’ve heard nothing.
“Brake is now joining with the Drive For Justice campaign in calling for a clear timetable of when a review will happen.
“For every day we have to live with the current system, another five families are facing the same terrible injustice.”
You can sign our Change.org petition here and share it using #DriveForJusticeCampaign