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Stafford MP backs tougher sentencing bid

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: November 10, 2012

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A NEW campaign to hand down tougher sentences for dangerous drivers who kill has been backed by Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy.

The initiative www.StopDangerousDrivers.com was launched this week with the backing of victims’ families and charities together with crossparty support in Parliament.

It aims to pressure the Sentencing Council to review the guidelines which prevent judges from handing out tough penalties.

It 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 a prison sentence.

Mr Lefroy said that such inadequate sentences leave families who are already devastated by the loss of a loved one feeling justice has not been done.

“Victims’ families often feel let down by the justice system when a dangerous driver who kills a loved one receives a lenient sentence.

“The maximum sentence of 14 years has never been used and only one in 10 of those convicted went to prison for more than five years,” said Mr Lefroy.

He added: “That’s why I’m backing this campaign to give drivers who kill the tough sentences they deserve.” The leading road safety charity Brake is already backing the campaign.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: "This campaign is crucial because letting off drivers 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.”

Di Reynolds, whose son Danny died in a crash in which the driver had been drinking alcohol, also backed the campaign.

“I feel strongly about this - if a driver causes death from carelessness or reckless actions as in Danny's case, I agree with tougher sentences.

“The driver in our case has now been released on temporary licence after just 16 months and once released will start over.

“I feel there should be more work with people who cause death when driving to understand the impact on those left behind.”

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