Belfast Telegraph

New killer driver laws must apply to Northern Ireland also

Editor's Viewpoint

Stringent new laws are being proposed for England and Wales to punish drivers who kill, but sadly it appears they will not apply here for some time.

In England and Wales motorists who cause death because of speeding, street racing or using a mobile phone could face life sentences, the same as those handed down for manslaughter.

It is also proposed that life sentences will be introduced for dangerous driving causing death while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

And the Government is considering the introduction of a possible new charge of causing death by dangerous cycling.

Sadly, this legislation will not apply to Northern Ireland, where our political parties are still in deadlock so that, as things stand, laws are not being passed at Stormont.

Sadly, we are all too aware of the trauma and suffering caused by death and injury on our roads.

The grief of families is only compounded when fatalities and injuries occur because of the neglect and carelessness of somebody else.

Drink-driving has always been a menace, but the use of drugs by some behind the wheel is an increasingly worrying occurrence.

All of this makes it even more difficult for the authorities to tackle this huge social problem, which causes such misery.

For many, road deaths and injuries are merely statistics which apply to other people, but the suffering hits home when we read about the family of Enda Dolan, who have been campaigning for changes in the law to support stricter motoring and cycling penalties.

Enda, who was only 18, was killed as he walked back to his room at Queen's student accommodation three years ago this month.

His killer had been driving with alcohol and drugs in his system.

Enda's father told the Belfast Telegraph: "We have been campaigning for three years, and we want the changes that will apply in England and Wales to be introduced to Northern Ireland.

"It is very hard to sit back and watch progress being made elsewhere in other parts of the United Kingdom, but not here. I know that I speak for a lot of other bereaved families."

Ministers in Northern Ireland - whether local or otherwise - must follow Westminster's lead, and so send out a clear signal that risking lives on the roads will not be tolerated.

Belfast Telegraph

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