Drive for Justice campaign steps up a gear

A Falkirk Herald campaign for tougher sentences for killer drivers has been endorsed by Scotland's First Minister.

Sunday, 18th December 2016, 9:00 am
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was questioned about the Government's position on dangerous driving
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was questioned about the Government's position on dangerous driving

Alongside our sister papers across the Johnston Press group, we are putting pressure on the Government to revise sentencing rules for people who commit dangerous driving offences.

Our investigation last month revealed that no-one in the UK had ever received the maximum sentence of 14 years for causing death by dangerous driving.

We also revealed that 100 people convicted of killing others on Scottish roads had walked free from court since 2005.

Now, Nicola Strugeon and the UK’s Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, have spoken in support of our Drive for Justice campaign.

During First Minister’s Questions last Thursday, Ms Sturgeon said there was a strong case for toughening up sentences for those who cause death by dangerous driving.

Asked by Central Scotland Conservative MSP and Falkirk Bairn Alison Harris what the Scottish Government’s position was on increasing sentences, Ms Sturgeon said tougher sentences and penalties could discourage reckless driving.

The First Minister said: “Those who drive dangerously and kill people ruin lives, not just of those who die but also their family and friends.

“The UK Government is consulting on whether courts should have increased powers to deal with offenders.

“While increasing sentences can never compensate for the loss of a family member or friend, increasing penalties may help discourage people from driving dangerously in the first place.

“This area of law is not devolved in Scotland, and I would encourage all those with views in this important area to respond to the UK Government’s consultation.”

When questioned by Ms Harris if she supported the aims of the campaign, Ms Sturgeon answered: “I would endorse The Falkirk Herald’s campaign.

“I think it’s very important to raise awareness of the dangers associated with anybody driving a car dangerously, but also I think it’s perfectly legitimate to campaign for tougher sentencing although sentencing is always a matter for the courts.

“I do think there is a strong case for toughening up the sentences that are available to the courts in these circumstances, and I hope very much that will be the direction of travel the UK Government takes once it has had the opportunity to consider the responses of the consultation.”

Following First Minister’s Questions, Ms Harris said: “Causing death by dangerous driving should have much more severe penalties, and I applaud Johnston Press for highlighting this matter.”

Further south, Justice Secretary Liz Truss praised Johnston Press, saying it had “tirelessly campaigned on this important issue”.

She added: “Nothing can compensate for the death of a loved one but the Government wants to make sure the punishment fits the crime.”