Below is a letter sent by road danger reduction, pedestrians”, cyclists’ and road crash victims’ groups including RDRF to the Government. It seems to us obvious that in a planned consultation on driving offences the role of driving bans should be key. It’s explained in our letter below:
Justice Minister Sam Gyimah
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice
Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
6 October 2016
We welcomed your announcement last month that the consultation on driving offences will finally commence by the end of this year. And we were reassured to hear from Cycling UK, following their recent meeting with the MoJ, that the consultation will include a review of how careless driving is defined and the boundaries with dangerous driving. But we were disappointed to learn that the role of driving bans is not to be a key issue.
As organisations representing victims, cyclists and walkers, and sustainable transport organisations, we are concerned that the consultation will miss a key chance to make our roads safer.
We write now to request the consultation be extended to include the role of driving bans, and other non-custodial sentences, such as vehicle confiscation.
Driving bans are extremely underused and remain classified as an “ancillary penalty” by the Sentencing Guidelines. They are basically only being used where the Sentencing Guidelines say they are mandatory. But even in these circumstances they are not always used, with one in four drivers convicted of Causing Death by Careless Driving escaping a driving ban.
We support the proposal that drivers caught using their mobile phones a second time will receive a ban, as less than 1% of those convicted at court in 2015 for using their mobile phone whilst driving received a ban. We believe there is strong support for the use of driving bans with the public, as it is a punishment which “fits the crime”.
At the last meeting of DfT’s Justice for Vulnerable Road Users working group (and after the full review of driving offences had been announced in May 2014), Neil Stevenson raised the possibility of a meeting with the campaigners to explain how sentencing was changing. As sentencing has evolved since then, this meeting is even more needed. We ask that you meet with us, ideally before the consultation is launched, to discuss sentencing, including the use of driving bans.
Martin Key, Campaign Manager, British Cycling
Duncan Dollimore, Senior Road Safety and Legal Campaigner, Cycling UK
Tom Bogdanowicz, Senior Policy and Development Officer, London Cycling Campaign
Tom Platt, Head of Policy and Communication, Living Streets
Dr. Robert Davis, Chair, Road Danger Reduction Forum
Rod King, Founder and Director, 20’s Plenty for Us
Amy Aeron-Thomas, Advocacy and Justice Manager, RoadPeace