Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has endorsed Johnston Press’s Drive for Justice campaign.
During First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon said there was a strong case for toughening up sentences available to the courts for those who cause death by dangerous driving.
The campaign - run by this newspaper - 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.
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 Minister said: “Those who drive dangerously and kill people ruin lives, not just of those who die but also their family and friends.
“The UK Government is currently consulting on whether courts should have increased powers to deal with offenders.
“While increasing sentences can never compensate for the loss of a family member or friend, increasing penalties may help discourage people from driving dangerously in the first place.
“This area of law is not devolved in Scotland, and I would encourage all those with views in this important area to respond to the UK Government’s 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.
When questioned by Ms Harris if she supported the aims of the campaign, Ms Sturgeon answered: “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, and I hope very much that will be the direction of travel the UK Government takes once it has had the opportunity to consider the responses of the consultation.”
• Sign the Drive For Justice petition here:- www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-deliver-stiffer-punishments-for-drivers-who-kill-or-seriously-injure-on-uk-roads