Otley’s MP has hailed the news that banned drivers who cause death or serious injury are to face tougher jail sentences.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced this week that the law will be changed so disqualified drivers could be given up to 10 years in prison if they kill and up to four for causing serious injury.
Mr Grayling has also said he will be launching a full review of all driving offences to ensure those who endanger lives are properly punished.
MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) has been campaigning for tougher laws in relation to two cases in his constituency – including that of Jamie Still, 16, of Otley, who died after being hit by a drink driver in 2010.
The MP said: “I am pleased the Government plans to change the law so there will now be justice for victims of banned drivers.
“The sentences unlicensed drivers currently receive if they are convicted are completely inappropriate and do not reflect the severity of the crime.
“I have been campaigning for logical changes to the law and sentencing guidelines for all those convicted of causing death or injury by dangerous driving.
“I hope the full review of all driving offences and penalties will finally result in these desperately needed changes and ensure that the victims of dangerous driving receive the justice they deserve.”
Mr Mulholland – working with Jamie’s family and road-safety charity Brake – is pressing for a change that would see anyone charged with causing death by careless or dangerous driving have their licence suspended automatically as bail condition. Reacting to Mr Grayling’s announcement, Brake’s deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend, said: “Brake has long campaigned for a shake-up of charges and penalties for risky and irresponsible drivers who kill and injure on our roads.
“Brake supports families who have been deeply and permanently affected by selfish and risky behaviour at the wheel and we frequently hear from these families that they feel terribly let down by our justice system.
“As such, we strongly welcome Chris Grayling’s announcement of a thorough review this year.”