It has been interesting to see big public support to road safety charity Brake’s call for tougher charges and penalties for divers causing deaths on the UK’s roads.
The ‘Roads To Justice’ campaign is calling for tougher charges and penalties on dangerous drivers, greater investment in road-traffic policing, and for Government-funded support for road crash victims whose loved ones have been killed or have suffered life-changing injuries.
With almost half of drivers convicted of killing not jailed at all, and the average prison sentence for a driver who has killed someone being less than four years, it is understandable to see why Brake has focussed on this area for its campaign, and why it is gaining such widespread support
Launching a petition to the Government, it is calling for criminal driving to be redefined in law, and says drivers who pose a serious threat must face serious charges and penalties.
It says: “The Government’s own figures show the average sentence for a driver who kills is four years with automatic release after two; this cannot be justified.
“Inadequate sentences fail to deter offenders and fail to give victims and families the justice they deserve. Criminal drivers are reckless not careless; they cause avoidable deaths and serious life shattering injuries.”
It is those ‘life shattering’ injuries which we see the devastating impact of day to day in our work as road traffic accident compensation claims specialists at Hudgell Solicitors.
And whilst we certainly support this campaign and the good it will hopefully do to raise awareness around driving responsibly, with the possibility of leading to stronger punishments, it is that future support for victims and their families which we feel is key.
Rehabilitation led support is vital for victims of serious road traffic accidents
Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns for Brake, says ‘too many families suffer the double trauma of losing a loved one in a sudden and violent way, and then witness the judicial system turning its back on them.’
Sadly, we see this happen all too often to our clients. They can be left feeling nobody is on their side, and that nobody has been looking out for them or their loved ones.
This is why we feel immensely proud of the work we do and the support we provide for people during some of the darkest and most difficult times of their lives. We know our focus has to be on supporting families with their needs and helping them to rebuild their lives after tragedy strikes – whether the result of a genuine accident, or criminal and dangerous driving.
We know that no amount of money can ever turn back the clock, but a rehabilitation focussed package of support – funded through a successful compensation claim – can help ensure vital treatment, physiotherapy and adaptations to homes can be made to make life as comfortable as possible for those injured.
For families who lose a loved one, support often needs to be focussed on physical therapy, counselling, or even securing extra family support for parents who lose a partner, and need help giving their children the best upbringing, often having had to give up work. They are difficult times, and times when the legal profession needs to support them in every way it can.
Claims process should not prove an extra strain on victims of road traffic accidents
Brake has highlighted that support for road-crash victims is a grossly under-funded area.
It says: ‘When someone dies in a crash, their mum, dad, wife, husband, partner, brother, sister, daughter or son are often left to struggle through their loss alone. We need the government to invest in specialist support, offering prompt and comprehensive help to families when the worst has happened.’
We know that making a claim for compensation following any kind of road accident can be complicated and perhaps daunting, but we always focus on filling that void of support which has been highlighted by Brake, ensuring we understand the full impact on families to provide the advice, expertise and treatment they need.
Serious accidents can often lead to issues and disputes over liability, and complications if people are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, but these are issues we can overcome.
We certainly back Brake’s call for greater funding to be made available to support victims.
In tragic circumstances, victims, and families left behind after losing their loved ones must be the priority, whether stricter punishments are introduced for those causing the accidents are introduced or not.