FENLAND: Tougher penalties campaign launched for killer drivers

MP Steve Barclay speaking in Parliament
MP Steve Barclay speaking in Parliament

A major new campaign to introduce tougher penalties for dangerous drivers who kill has been launched today (Monday) by Fenland MP, Steve Barclay.

www.StopDangerousDrivers.com was launched with the backing of victims’ families, charities and cross party support in Parliament.

Jamie Butcher

Jamie Butcher

It aims to pressure the Sentencing Council to review the guidelines which prevent Judges from handing out the tough penalties these killer drivers deserve.

The campaign follows the death of Jamie Butcher (22) from Wisbech. Jamie was killed on a pedestrian crossing by a driver who went through a red light at twice the speed limit. His killer is likely to be out of jail in under two years.

The campaign also asks the Government to consider abolishing the more lenient offence of Causing Death by Careless Driving, so anyone whose bad driving results in a death is prosecuted for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving.

Figures revealed today in support of the campaign show that one-in-three of those convicted of causing death by dangerous or careless driving escape prison.

Steve Barclay said: “Bereaved families are right when they say lenient sentences for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving are a failure of the Justice System.”

The maximum sentence available to killer drivers is 14 years. However, this has never been used and only one in ten of those convicted went to prison for more than five years.

Mr Barclay added: “That’s why I’ve launched this campaign at www.StopDangerousDrivers.com to call for a change in this guidance. No sentence can ever bring back a loved one. However, we can make sure that dangerous drivers who kill receive the tough penalties they deserve.”

Road safety charity Brake are already backing the campaign.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: “This campaign is crucial because letting drivers off who kill with lenient sentences, or sometimes no jail term at all, implies that driving dangerously, even when it results in loss of life and terrible suffering, is only a minor transgression.”

• See Wednesday’s Citizen for details from Jamie’s family about their new campaign website.