Wisbech: Campaign For Tougher Sentences

29 October 2012, 06:00 | Updated: 29 October 2012, 15:12

A Cambridgeshire family are behind a major new campaign to introduce tougher penalties for dangerous drivers who kill.

Jamie Butcher, from Wisbech, was just 22 years old, when he was killed on a pedestrian crossing by a driver who went through a red light at twice the speed limit. 

The driver responsible was jailed for 43 month, but could be out in less for good behaviour. 

Jamie's family are now working with North East Cambridgeshire MP, Steve Barclay on a campaign to get tougher sentences passed.

www.StopDangerousDrivers.com was launched today with the backing of victims, families, charities and cross party support in Parliament.

The campaign also asks the Government to consider abolishing the more lenient offence of Causing Death by Careless Driving, so anyone whose bad driving results in a death is prosecuted for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving. 

Jamie's step-father Steve Green told Heart: 'For us without Jamie now it's a life sentence, we've got to live the rest of our lives without our beautiful son with us and it just doesn't feel like justice. 

'Tougher sentencing may act in some way as a bit of deterrent to stop people driving like idiots in the first place, but secondly the feeling when we came out of Cambridge Crown Court after the sentencing was really just a kick in the teeth.' 

Figures revealed today in support of the campaign show that one in three of those convicted of causing death by dangerous or careless driving escape prison. 

MP Steve Barclay said: 'Bereaved families are right when they say lenient sentences for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving are a failure of the Justice System.

'The maximum sentence available to killer drivers is 14 years. However, this has never been used and only one in ten of those convicted went to prison for more than 5 years. 

Mr Barclay added: 'That's why I've launched this campaign at www.StopDangerousDrivers.com to call for a change in this guidance. 

No sentence can ever bring back a loved one. However, we can make sure that dangerous drivers who kill receive the tough penalties they deserve.' 

The leading Road Safety charity Brake are already backing the campaign. 

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, the road safety charity, said: 'This campaign is crucial because letting off drivers who kill with lenient sentences, or sometimes no jail term at all, implies that driving dangerously, even when it results in loss of life and terrible suffering, is only a minor transgression.'