Families bereaved by criminal drivers call for tougher sentences to parliament

Tuesday 12 July 2016


Thousands of people have witnessed Brake launch its new “ROADS TO JUSTICE” campaign in London. The charity and five bereaved families made the calls for stronger charges and tougher sentences outside parliament yesterday, alongside the wreckage of Joseph Brown-Lartey’s car. It was sliced in two by a speeding driver who ran a red light at 80 mph. His killer will spend just three years behind bars.

The calls follow a survey by Brake, which found that most people back much tougher sentences for all criminal drivers who kill. Two-thirds of people (66%) questioned think those convicted should be jailed for at least 10 years. About half of people asked said the sentence for killing someone in a crash should be at least 15 years; and one in five (19.8%) think drivers who kill should be jailed for life.

At present almost half of drivers convicted of killing are not jailed at all.[i] The average prison sentence for a driver who has killed someone is less than four years.[ii]

The survey also revealed 91% of people questioned agreed that if someone causes a fatal crash when they get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs, they should be charged with manslaughter.

Brake is now calling on the government to immediately review guidelines for both charging and sentencing criminal drivers. More than 7,000 people have already signed Brake’s petition calling for government action, launched just a few days ago.


Photos of yesterday’s launch are available here:


Other photos available on request.

Joseph’s parents, Ian and Dawn Brown-Lartey, said: “Today has been very hard-hitting and a day of mixed emotions. When we see the wreckage of the car, we just see the car as it was with Joseph sat in it, driving very proudly, a car that meant the world to him. It’s just hard to get your head around really. But the support has been overwhelming, the police have been amazing, supporting this as much as they can – the MPs and the general public – there were crowds of people stopping to find out why we were there. This is all about helping other families so that they get justice because the sad fact is, day-in day-out, there are going to be families that get that knock on the door and the sentences just do not fit the crime. This makes it real, it’s not just another story. The evidence has been right there in front of Parliament.”

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the bravery of the families who came to London to help us launch this campaign and also the support from the members of the public who approached us throughout the day to give us their backing. This is the start of a prolonged campaign that seeks proper justice and better help and support for families devastated by road deaths. The new Prime Minister now has an opportunity to take action and make justice for victim’s families a priority for her new administration.”


Notes to Editors:

More photos including those of individual families available on request.

Read more about Joseph Brown-Lartey’s case here:


Other families involved

Lorraine Allaway (Yorkshire)


The Flanagans (Leicestershire)


Mark Hollands (South East – Maidenhead)


The Briddons – West Wales



About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties. 

[i] Criminal justice system statistics quarterly: December 2014, Ministry of Justice, 2015

[ii] Criminal justice system statistics: motoring pivot table analytical tool for England and Wales, Ministry of Justice, 2015