DRIVE FOR JUSTICE: Killer drivers must pay the price

Drivers who kill have been sentenced to an average of just five years in prison with dozens escaping jail altogether, an investigation has revealed.

Tuesday, 22nd November 2016, 11:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd November 2016, 1:06 pm

Not a single person has been handed the maximum 14-year sentence for causing death by dangerous driving since Parliament lengthened the sentence from 10 years in 2004.

Figures show between April 2010 and December 2015, 42 people convicted of causing death by dangerous driving were given suspended sentences.

And the average sentence given to those who were jailed in that time is less than five years.

The tragic road death of a four-year-old Burnley girl in 2005 sparked outcry at the time when the driver of a stolen car was jailed for just 12 weeks after admitting careless driving.

The mother of little Levi Bleasdale said of the sentence: “He says he is praying for me and my family, well I don’t want his prayers. He’s wrecked my daughter’s life, he’s wrecked my family’s life and I don’t want him to pray for me at all - it’s too late.

Mary Williams OBE, the then chief executive of Brake, the national road safety charity, said she was “appalled” by the sentence.

“The sentence does not even begin to reflect the devastation he has caused the Bleasdale family.

“Mohammed Hussain will be on the streets in only a few months, while they have been given a life sentence. Brake is calling for tough laws to tackle illegal and hit-and-run killer drivers - they should automatically face a charge equivalent to causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.”

Many other motorists who kill on the roads are prosecuted under the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving which bereaved families view as an insult.

Today, the Burnley Express backs a new Johnston Press Drive For Justice campaign to call 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, the vast majority feel they do not get justice from the legal system in the UK. The Drive For Justice campaign aims to give these families a voice and we are lobbying the Government to re-work guidelines so judges can use the powers that exist as well as tackling loopholes and imposing tougher sentences for the worst offenders.