Susan Elan Jones MP has paid tribute to campaigners who worked across party political lines to secure a major commitment from the Ministry of Justice. The Government Department this week announced that it would increase maximum sentences for drivers who cause death by speeding, racing or using a mobile phone. Offenders who cause death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs will also face life sentences, and a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving will be created.
The Clwyd South MP said:
“Nothing we do can ever bring back those people whose lives have been tragically cut short on our nation’s roads – nearly 1,800 of them last year alone. However, I believe that we owe it to their loved ones to do all we can to make sure we have better laws and fewer road accidents.”
Susan Elan Jones MP is a long-standing campaigner on this issue. In 2014, she received the award of Parliamentarian of the Year by road safety charity Brake for campaigning for longer jail terms for drivers who kill or seriously injure.
Ms Jones launched her campaign in conjunction with residents of Overton-on-Dee who had experienced a tragic incident in 2009 when a nine-year-old boy was run over and killed by a driver who had no licence, no insurance and failed to stop when he hit and killed Robert. The driver was given a 22-month prison sentence, of which he served 10 months.
The maximum sentence for causing a death when driving unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured is two years in jail, and the maximum for killing someone and failing to stop and report it is up to six months. This compares to a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison for drivers convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.
Susan Elan Jones MP secured cross party support for her Private Member’s Bill, The Driving Offences (Review of Sentencing Guidelines) Bill, which was brought forward under a 10-minute rule bill in January 2014. Since then, she has regularly questioned Government Ministers in Parliament, urging them to do more on the issue.