Jim Fitzpatrick MP speaking at yesterday's Westminster Hall debate
Jim Fitzpatrick MP speaking at yesterday's Westminster Hall debate

MPs debate dangerous driving

A dangerous driving debate attended by cross-party MPs in Westminster this week focused on safer roads, fewer casualties and the long awaited details of the Government’s public consultation of driving offences and penalties.
This was the second dangerous driving debate to be called by Alok Sharma MP for Reading West. Sharma is supporting the families of two cyclists killed by a dangerous driver in 2014. The families’ petition, which called for sentences for drivers who cause multiple deaths by dangerous driving to be sentenced for each death, was signed by 102,000 people before it closed in March 2015. 
 
Sharma focused on seeking details of the timetable for the Government's driving offences and penalties review, which was announced by the last Justice Minister, Chris Grayling, in May 2014, but which has been shrouded in mystery since. 
 
CTC’s Road Justice campaign has for several years been highlighting the fact that roads policing has suffered disproportionate cuts in recent years, compared with overall police numbers..This is not a party political point; these things have happened under different Governments."
Jim Fitzpatrick MP
Taking the lead from a briefing CTC prepared for the debate, Jim Fitzpatrick MP, former Labour road safety minister, also sought clarification on the details of the review. Along with Sharma, Fitzpatrick was keen to know when the widespread public consultation would begin. 
 
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Andrew Selous, gave his assurance that Ministry of Justice officials were working on the review “in earnest”, but CTC’s concerns about further delays for consultation were not lessened when the Minister merely said he hoped to engage the public “soon”. It was encouraging to hear from the Minister that the review would be widely publicised, but whether that really happens is yet to be seen.
 
Fitzpatrick also used CTC’s briefing as a basis for his appeal for greater enforcement of road traffic law. He emphasised the role of visible and effective policing in tackling irresponsible and dangerous driving. He quoted figures from CTC’s Road Justice campaign highlighting the fact that roads policing has suffered disproportionate cuts in recent years with traffic police numbers falling 37% from 3002/3 – 2013/14 while overall police numbers fell by just 3.5%.
 
The deep cuts to roads policing and the impact this is having on the safety of the public and their confidence in the police will be highlighted by CTC in its response to the Transport Committee’s inquiry into road traffic law enforcement, which closes on 12 October.
 
 
 
RhiaFavero