DRIVE FOR JUSTICE CAMPAIGN: Number of driving bans handed out by courts falls by 62%
One of the aims of the Drive For Justice campaign is to lobby for greater use of driving bans given out when sentencing and longer bans for those who kill or seriously injure on the roads.
Campaigners are supporting this call and believe greater use of driving bans would act as a deterrent to motorists when it comes to risky behaviour.
However, figures reveal driving bans being given by courts are rare and becoming rarer.
Between 2005 and 2015, they declined from around 150,000 to less than 60,000.
Amy Aeron-Thomas, advocacy and justice manager for RoadPeace, the charity for road crash victims, said:”It is very rare that drivers committing offences on the road are sent to prison. It is usually only if they kill someone they are given a prison sentence.
“For dangerous driving offences that do not result in a death, less than half of offenders go to prison.
“This is why we think driving bans play such a key role.
“We think dangerous driving should carry longer bans and judges should never let drivers off.
“The fact that there are fewer driving bans being given out rather than more means we are going the wrong way.
“The more serious offences already carry a driving ban but other bans are discretionary such as with using a mobile phone even though evidence shows it is as dangerous as drink driving.
“Driving bans are always more of a deterrent for the vast majority of people.
“If you take away the opportunity to drive, it hits people hard.
“The justice system needs a rethink on driving bans. They are a punishment that truly fits the crime.
“Driving is a privilege, not a right, and the privilege should be removed when it has been misused.
“We would call for courts to use driving bans much more - for short, long and lifetime for the worst offenders.
“There should be lifetime bans for causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving while under the influence.
“The Sentencing Guidelines should recommend longer driving bans for the more serious offences.
“With summary offences, even short bans, if given frequently, should deter law breaking.
“Where a serious injury has resulted by careless driving or using a mobile phone, driving bans should be given.
“Drivers arrested on suspicion of any offence that carries an obligatory driving ban should be banned immediately.
“This should be a driving license condition, rather than a sentence imposed before a conviction.
“Judges need to be trained upon the importance of driving bans as a deterrent.
“If the courts cannot manage, then the DVLA should take on more of the responsibility of banning drivers, as they already do with penalty points.”
Duncan Dollimore, senior road safety and legal campaigner for Cycling UK, says: “Our biggest concern about sentencing for driving offences is the inadequate use of disqualification laws.
“We believe the courts are forgetting that driving is not an entitlement but a privilege.
“We would like to see more disqualifications and with repeat offenders, much longer bans and the consideration of lifetime bans from driving.”
Gary Rae, campaigns director at road safety charity Brake says: “We believe drivers who kill and seriously injure should be taken off the road once they are charged as a condition of bail.
“Prosecutions often take months to come to court. In many cases, the driver charged is able to continue driving during this time potentially putting others in danger and often in the same community where the crash took place causing further distress to bereaved families
“We are not happy that many offenders are using extenuating circumstances to argue to allow them to drive again and again by saying not being able to drive would cause them extreme hardship.
“But then by being allowed to drive, sometimes that person has gone on to kill and caused extreme hardship to another family.
“Driving is a privilege, not a right. You do not have the right to put other people in danger.”
You can sign our Change.org petition here and share it using #DriveForJusticeCampaign