Four bereaved families have joined forces with the national charity for road crash victims, RoadPeace, to launch a campaign highlighting the failings of the UK justice system in passing adequate sentences for motorists who cause death by dangerous driving.
The charity has launched the ‘Fix our Broken Justice System’ campaign, which is calling for longer sentences for dangerous drivers, lifetime driving bans, immediate suspension of driving licences following a fatal or serious crash and a tightening of rules around the conditions for exceptional hardship, as well as a stricter and more robust system for drivers and the putting of victims’ rights first.
The campaign has been launched with the support of:
- Calvin Buckley, from Greater Manchester, bereaved partner of Frankie Jules-Hough (pictured) – Frankie, who was 17 weeks pregnant with his daughter, Neeve, had pulled up on the hard shoulder on the M66 to inspect a punctured tyre in May 2023. Her vehicle was hit by a BMW being driven erratically by Adil Iqbal, who was seen weaving in between vehicles, dangerously undertaking and reaching speeds of up to 123mph. He had been filming himself throughout the journey – holding the wheel with one hand and holding his phone with the other. Iqbal was jailed for just 12 years, for killing Frankie and seriously injuring her two children and her nephew. He was also banned from driving for 13 years.
- Debbie Clack and Donna Barnham, from Surrey, bereaved Mum and Aunt of Lillie Clack – On Christmas Eve in 2021, Lillie, her boyfriend and friend had been out in London and accepted a lift home from Charlie Hilton. Unbeknown to them, he had been drinking that day and was over the drink-drive limit. Hilton drove at speeds of up to 100mph through residential streets, before his Mercedes hit a tree, flipped over and burst into flames. Tragically, Lillie died from her injuries three days later. Hilton was jailed for just 10 years and six months for causing death by dangerous driving. He was banned from driving for five years.
- Summer Mace and her father Jason Mace, from Norfolk – Summer’s mother, Lisa Carter, her sister Jade Mace, and her step-father, Paul Carter, were all killed in a crash in Norfolk in January 2023, by Aurelijus Cielevicius, who had taken a cocktail of drugs before getting behind the wheel. Cielevicius crashed into their vehicle head-on with his BMW while overtaking. On June 20, 2023 was jailed for 10 and a half years after he admitted three counts of causing death by dangerous driving. He was also disqualified from driving for 15 years.
- Claire Reynolds, from Staffordshire, bereaved Mum of six-year-old Sharlotte-Sky Naglis – Sharlotte-Sky was walking to the shops with her father in June 2021. She was killed almost instantly when John Owen lost control of his vehicle and plowed into Sharlotte and her Dad. Owen had been speeding, driving while under the influence of drink and drugs, not wearing a seatbelt and was on his mobile phone. He was jailed for just six years and two months. He was also banned from driving for eight years and one month.
Nick Simmons, CEO of RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims, said: “Every day on the UK’s roads, around five people are killed and more than 60 are seriously injured in collisions. More than twice as many people are killed on the UK’s roads each year than as a result of murder and terrorism combined.
“People who kill with guns, knives and other lethal weapons get long custodial sentences – sending out strong messages to society that violent offences will not be tolerated, and deterring future offenders.
“But in contrast, dangerous drivers who kill or seriously injure innocent people, get far shorter custodial sentences. Yet many were behaving recklessly at the time of the collision – speeding excessively, under the influence of drink or drugs or using a mobile phone at the wheel and many had previous motoring convictions, yet went on to kill.
“RoadPeace members urge the Government to make vital changes to the law to prevent road harm, increase general deterrence against road traffic offending, ensure that adequate sentencing is passed and provide better protection and compassion for road crash victims and bereaved families during the justice process.”
The charity says since July 2023, lifetime jail sentences can be imposed for causing death by dangerous driving and given the long-standing issue of lenient sentencing, it is calling for greater use of these new powers. It also says Courts have the powers to impose lifetime driving bans, so why aren’t they? Why should somebody who has killed on our roads through their reckless actions, ever be legally allowed to drive again? It adds driving is a privilege, not a right.
It adds agencies should have the power to suspend driving licences immediately after a fatal or serious crash until the conclusion of legal proceedings, the exceptional hardship defence should only be granted in truly exceptional circumstances, road crime must be treated as real crime to ensure that dangerous drivers are dealt with appropriately at the outset and prevented from becoming repeat road traffic offenders, while laws must be designed with compassion for the victims and bereaved families, taking their rights into account, rather than the offender’s rights.