This week cycle charity CTC has launched its Road Justice Campaign, challenging the police, the prosecution service and the judiciary over the way they treat bad driving and bad drivers.
The campaign follows a number of controversial sentences for motorists killing cyclists, not least the ‘unduly lenient’ sentence given to Edinburgh driver Gary McCourt whose driving killed two cyclists. A campaign to call for the review of McCourt’s sentence was supported by over 6,000 people who wrote to the Lord Advocate in the space of just three weeks.
Since 2009, CTC has collected over 4,000 reports of bad driving through its online reporting system – www.roadjustice.org.uk – and has collected testimonies from victims who felt their cases were not dealt with properly by the legal system. The site include videos of some of the personal stories collecting.
One of the videos on Road Justice is of Sarah-Charlotte Peace, of Shropshire. She was hit by a car driver on a roundabout in August 2012 and suffered serious leg injuries in the crash. Her career plans have been put on hold as a result and she now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. She didn’t receive any support from the police and never heard from the officer that attended the crash scene. In court the driver admitted that she had not looked properly before entering the roundabout, yet was only found guilty of careless driving. The driver received a £110 fine and nine penalty points – and was able to drive again the same day.
CTC is campaigning for:
- High quality and thorough police investigations of all road traffic collisions.
- Better charging and prosecution decisions.
- Sentences that reflect the severity of the offence and discourage bad driving, including greater use of substantial driving bans.
The charity insists road crime is not being prioritised in the same way as other types of crime. Roads police numbers have fallen 29 per cent in the past ten years in England and Wales, while overall police numbers have remained stable.
CTC’s Road Justice Campaigner Rhia Weston said: “We have compiled case studies and legal arguments to present to representatives of the police across the UK which highlight the need for better quality road collision investigations and appropriate charging practices.
"Over the next six months CTC will also send evidence to the prosecution services and the courts demonstrating the need for more appropriate charging and prosecution decisions and greater use of tougher sentences, with an emphasis on extended driving bans.
“We will work with other victims and their families to put forward strong arguments to law enforcers of the need to take bad driving seriously and work to bring about safer cycling and safer roads for all road users."