Leading politicians in support of campaign

Liz Truss MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, with Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Sam Gyimah.
Liz Truss MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, with Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Sam Gyimah.

Two leading politicians have praised and endorsed our campaign calling for tougher sentences for dangerous drivers who kill on the roads.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has endorsed Johnston Press’s Drive For Justice initiative, while Justice Secretary Liz Truss MP said it worked ‘tirelessly’ for victims’ families.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivers a speech during the Journalists' Charity lunch in Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 23, 2016. See PA story POLITICS EU. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivers a speech during the Journalists' Charity lunch in Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 23, 2016. See PA story POLITICS EU. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The campaign – which the Northumberland Gazette is helping to promote – is putting pressure on the Government to revise sentencing rules for people who commit dangerous driving offences.

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

So far, more than 3,000 people have signed the Drive For Justice petition, as the campaign gains momentum and harnesses more support.

Recently, the Ministry of Justice announced a public consultation, which could result in dangerous drivers who kill facing life sentences.

Backing our campaign, Mrs Truss said: “This is an important issue – calling for tougher sentences for those who drive dangerously and kill on our roads. Nothing can compensate for the death of a loved one but the Government wants to make sure the punishment fits the crime.”

Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon has also voiced her support. Asked by Central Scotland Conservative MSP Alison Harris what the Scottish Government’s position was on increasing sentences, Ms Sturgeon encouraged people to respond to a review of the matter currently being undertaken by the UK Government.

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

“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 that will be the direction of travel the UK Government takes, once it has had the opportunity to consider the responses of the consultation.”

The Drive For Justice campaign wants increased sentences for the worst offenders; increased driving bans for those who risk causing death and serious injury; to end the loophole that exists when a drink driver gets a shorter sentences after fleeing the scene, and a review of the number of drivers charged with lesser offences after causing death by dangerous driving.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I would endorse the 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.

“Some of the issues that form part of the campaign are issues that are being looked at in the UK Government’s consultation.

“I do think there is a strong case for toughening up the sentences that are available to the courts in these circumstances.”

To sign our petition calling for stiffer punishments for drivers who kill or seriously injure, visit www.tinyurl.com/zcgja88