David Burrowes, MP for Enfield Southgate, has been given a national road safety award by the charity Brake and Direct Line Group for his work campaigning for stronger sentences for dangerous drugged and drunk drivers. David has been named Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Month for his work campaigning for tougher penalties for drivers who kill and maim since 2005.
David took up the campaign from his predecessor Stephen Twigg MP shortly after being elected, at the request of constituents the Galli-Atkinson family. Livia Galli-Atkinson was knocked down and killed age 16 while walking on a pavement in Enfield in 1998. In 2010, the campaign celebrated its first national success when the government announced the maximum sentence for dangerous driving was to be increased from two years’ imprisonment to five.
Most recently, the government has promised to look into automatically prosecuting drunk or drugged drivers who kill for an offence that carries up to 14 years in prison. Currently the CPS has to prove that driving was ‘careless’ independently from proving that it was impaired by drink or drugs in order to prosecute under this offence. The government has undertaken to change the law if evidence is presented to demonstrate killer drivers are being let off on lesser charges with much lower sentences. In addition the government is bringing in a new offence of driving with drugs in the body, which should also make it easier to prosecute drivers on drugs.
David was also active in a successful campaign to create a separate offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. The new offence was announced in October 2011 and came into effect in December 2012. It carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.
David originally attempted to increase the penalties for drivers who caused serious injuries in 2006, by introducing an amendment to the Road Safety Bill. Since then he has campaigned locally and asked questions in Parliament as part of the campaign, which eventually saw success in the Legal Aid, Sentencing, and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: “Appropriate sentences for drivers who endanger others, kill or maim are vital in ensuring there is a strong deterrent against taking risks on the road, and in ensuring justice is done on behalf of the victims. Tough penalties send a strong message that our society will not tolerate the awful suffering caused by drink and drug driving and other selfish behaviour at the wheel. David Burrowes has worked tirelessly to make sure the penalties for risky and destructive driving match the seriousness of the offences, and we are pleased to present him this award in recognition of the progress his campaign has achieved.”
David Burrowes, MP for Enfield Southgate, said: "I have become involved in campaigning for road safety due to the tireless efforts of the Galli-Atkinson family who deserve most credit. When one campaign ends so another begins. Whilst there has been significant progress in changing legislation to reflect the severity of cases of deaths caused by driving there are still gaps. We now need to get the evidence of cases where drivers who kill whilst impaired through drink or drugs have got away with a lesser conviction just for driving whilst over the prescribed limit for drugs or alcohol."
Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 66 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (18-24 November 2013), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake’s support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.
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.
Direct Line Insurance Group plc
Direct Line Insurance Group plc (Direct Line Group) is headquartered in Bromley, Kent; it has operations in the UK, Germany and Italy.
Through its number of well known brands Direct Line Group offers a wide range of general insurance products to consumers. These brands include; Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. It also offers insurance services for third party brands through its Partnerships division. In the commercial sector, its NIG and Direct Line for Business operations provide insurance products for businesses via brokers or direct respectively.
In addition to insurance services, Direct Line Group continues to provide support and reassurance to millions of UK motorists through its Green Flag breakdown recovery service and TRACKER stolen vehicle recovery and telematics business.