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Results: What do you think of the driver's sentence?

It was too lenient

79.71% • 55 votes

It was about right

15.94% • 11 votes

It was too harsh

4.35% • 3 votes

You may not vote on this poll

69 votes in total.

  • FIRST POST
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 21st Jun 16, 7:54 PM
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    esuhl
    Driver hits cyclist, left for dead. Let off in court.
    • #1
    • 21st Jun 16, 7:54 PM
    Driver hits cyclist, left for dead. Let off in court. 21st Jun 16 at 7:54 PM
    I just saw this depressing news article in which a driver hit a cyclist, left him for dead (conveniently avoiding the breathalyser)... and was let off with a suspended sentence, 85 fine, 4-month curfew, and a 20-month driving ban.

    So... other than having a few early nights, he's basically been let off. By sheer luck, the cyclist survived with serious injuries.

    Is it just me, or does this seem unduly lenient?

    http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/driver-given-12-week-suspended-11499988
Page 2
    • brat
    • By brat 28th Jun 16, 5:17 PM
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    brat
    While injury and alcohol would be indicators for a more serious dangerous driving penalty, on the information provided it wouldn't have been enough to get into the top band of Dangerous Driving penalties which is what would be needed to put the penalty beyond what was received (even a medium band dangerous driving offence maxes out at 24 month disqualification). I would suspect that's one of the reasons why he wasn't charged with that offence but as above, only those who were part of the process know what actually happened and what evidence was available.

    John
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    If he was seriously injured, and the OP suggests he was, the offence would be "causing serious injury by dangerous driving" contrary to S1A RTA 1988. It carries a maximum of 5 years imprisonment, which interestingly used to be the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving 25 years ago.

    It also carries a mandatory two year disqualification.
    Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 28th Jun 16, 5:45 PM
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    esuhl
    It's absolutely not anything close to attempted murder, those are a very different scale of charges primarily because of the intent - there has been no evidence shown that the offender had the intent to injure the cyclist.
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    But the driver very intentionally, deliberately and maliciously left him for dead! You can't unintentionally drive a car away from a crime scene.

    I doubt the driver weighed up the potential risks of drunk driving and still chose to drive, even if nothing had happened and he'd been caught he would have still been facing a length ban. Therefore a more serious sentence isn't likely to make any difference in terms to future decisions...
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    I still don't think longer sentences are going to help because in this case and too many others despite a serious minimum penalty for drink driving/failure to provide, people still do it...
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    Exactly! And in 20 months, he'll be able to maim or kill others on the road. If a serious sentence isn't going to make any difference to his future decisions, then he needs to be kept off the road for a much longer time to protect decent members of society.

    ... and a longer sentence doesn't change the fact the person who was hit is still injured.
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    No sentence can undo injuries! That's not how sentencing works! Are you saying that, since the injuries can't be undone, the driver shouldn't be charged with anything?!

    ... although I don't agree in writing off the penalty as too minor with no effect, I suspect as others have mentioned above it's likely to have serious implications on the offender's life.
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    The implications can't be anything like as bad for him as for the victim who was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries. By the sound of it, he might never walk again.

    The driver CHOSE to risk these implications. And the injuries were made worse by the fact that the driver DELIBERATELY and maliciously refused to stop and help. This is absolutely callous behaviour!

    Death by dangerous or careless driving also prompts similar topics, there was a lady who was jailed for a couple of years or possibly a bit less as she was distracted while on her phone and tragically killed someone. She was sentenced within the guidelines but many online thought she should be in jail for longer. She showed genuine remorse and was never going to drive again after that, I struggle to see how a long jail sentence would really make any difference particularly when most in her position if caught on their phones would have only received a paltry three points on her license.
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    Sure. It sounds like that lady had suffered a lot as a result of her actions. And presumably, she didn't deliberately kill the person she hit and went to his aid immediately... unlike the driver in this case, who tried to save his own skin, risking (and probably causing) greater harm, and risking someone's life through intentional neglect.

    To me, that level of cold-bloodedness is more concerning that someone who kills by accident. How can anyone leave a seriously injured person to just die alone by the side of the road?

    I doubt it will ever happen but I think more detection is key with the hope that some of these offences would have never happened in the first place.
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    I agree. I think there ought to be "black boxes" fitted to all cars, with CCTV so that there will be conclusive evidence in almost every crime committed on the roads.

    But the idea that you think that a 20 month ban is too harsh seems crazy to me. What sentence do you think would be appropriate? Should he not have been banned at all, and just let off? Is it right to tell the public that it's perfectly fine if you hit someone and leave them for dead?
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 28th Jun 16, 8:00 PM
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    esuhl
    I just saw a clip of a TV programme following the work of the police on the roads.

    A man was pulled over and found to be drunk. He refused a breath test. He was arrested and subsequently given a 3 year ban, a 12-month community order and had to pay 145 in costs.

    "All" he did was fail to provide a specimen for analysis. The driver I referred to in the OP did this, also hit someone leaving them with serious injuries, AND left the scene of an accident, leaving the cyclist for dead AND failed to report the accident.

    I just seems disproportionate to other sentences.
    • Johno100
    • By Johno100 28th Jun 16, 8:16 PM
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    Johno100
    I just saw a clip of a TV programme following the work of the police on the roads.

    A man was pulled over and found to be drunk. He refused a breath test. He was arrested and subsequently given a 3 year ban, a 12-month community order and had to pay 145 in costs.
    Originally posted by esuhl
    Sounds like another case of not getting the full story.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 28th Jun 16, 8:21 PM
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    esuhl
    Sounds like another case of not getting the full story.
    Originally posted by Johno100
    But we know what the charges were and we know what the sentences were.
    • Johno100
    • By Johno100 28th Jun 16, 8:58 PM
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    Johno100
    But we know what the charges were and we know what the sentences were.
    Originally posted by esuhl
    A 3 year ban and 12 month Community Order for a simple failure to provide, I don't think so. Sounds like he/she is a repeat offender or there were other offences.
    Last edited by Johno100; 28-06-2016 at 9:02 PM.
    • brat
    • By brat 28th Jun 16, 9:35 PM
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    brat
    A 3 year ban and 12 month Community Order for a simple failure to provide, I don't think so. Sounds like he/she is a repeat offender or there were other offences.
    Originally posted by Johno100
    A three year ban is usually the start point for a repeat drink drive/ftp offence.

    Judges and magistrates can (rightly) be influenced in their sentencing provision if good mitigation/remorse/guilty plea/previous god character is offered by the defence. Each case does need to be assessed individually.

    Usually, our frustration at the level of sentencing is a product of either lack of knowledge of the detail of the case, or a bias in favour of the victim.

    In the case of cyclists I do think that bias should become the norm. In other words I believe that those responsible for charging and sentencing need to fully appreciate the risks facing cyclists from inconsiderate, careless or dangerous driving. Driving that may be considered 'careless' around other motorists could quite easily be 'dangerous' in the vicinity of cyclists or other vulnerable road users, and this should more consistently be a consideration in deciding an appropriate charge.
    Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
    • fred246
    • By fred246 29th Jun 16, 4:39 AM
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    fred246
    I read all the research about helmets for cycling and decided they were probably of very little benefit (and could potentially be detrimental) so I didn't wear one for a few years. People with no knowledge of the subject often told me I should. I then read that lawyers in court would try to blame a cyclist for their own injuries and some had even succeeded in having claims reduced for cyclists that didn't wear helmets. So now I wear a helmet just so no-one could ever try to blame me in an accident. You don't want to be hit by a stupid motorist and then get told that you were somehow to blame for your injuries.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 29th Jun 16, 11:29 PM
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    esuhl
    I hadn't considered the fact that previous convictions would be taken into account, so maybe that explains the different sentences in different cases.

    But I still think a 20-month ban and a trivial fine is way too light a sentence for someone who seriously injured someone and left them for dead.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 11th Jul 16, 1:49 PM
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    esuhl
    But I still think a 20-month ban and a trivial fine is way too light a sentence for someone who seriously injured someone and left them for dead.
    Originally posted by esuhl
    ^^ There is a protest outside parliament today because a motorist who killed another driver "only" received a 6-year prison sentence.

    Gary Rae, director of campaigns for Brake, said: "Drivers who kill while taking illegal risks are too often labelled 'careless' in the eyes of the law, and then given insultingly low sentences when their actions can only be described as dangerous and destructive."
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36761849

    • 91% of people think drivers on drink or drugs who kill should be charged with manslaughter
    • 66% of people believe drivers who kill should be jailed for a minimum of 10 years
    • 84% of people think drivers who kill while breaking laws should be charged with dangerous and not careless driving
    http://www.brake.org.uk/top-level/18-campaigns/1594-roads-to-justice-real-life-cases

    I can't see much difference in leaving someone for dead at the side of the road and actually killing them. I know these were different incidents and the driver in the news report above deserves a harsher sentence because it's harder to kill someone in a car than on a bike, but still...

    People are almost literally getting away with murder.
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 11th Jul 16, 2:26 PM
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    Nasqueron
    Anyone who hits a cyclist and leaves them for dead deserves prison but murder requires intent in their actions - it would be manslaughter if they are getting away with it - killing with a car seems to be an odd legal situation as, unless they can prove you were drunk or tired or aimed at the victim, you don't seem to get as serious jail time as other types of killing
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 14th Jul 16, 2:55 AM
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    Richard53
    The problem with stuff like this AND with our legal system, is that one is judged by a jury of ones peers and not by the law as such. This means that all sorts of social nonsense makes it's way into the whole process and because most drivers hate cyclists, the cyclist is screwed right from the start.
    Originally posted by Strider590

    I don't think that "most drivers hate cyclists". However, I do think that there is a big element of 'there but for the grace of God go I' when juries try motoring offences.

    I doubt it will ever happen but I think more detection is key with the hope that some of these offences would have never happened in the first place.
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    I seem to remember reading, back when the death penalty was being abolished, that the severity of the punishment has little effect on the offender; what really matters is the likelihood of being caught. In other words, doubling the sentences for murder won't make much difference to the murder rate, but doubling the chances of being caught would.


    Which is why the move to increase the number of speed cameras and reduce the number of traffic officers on the roads was such a great idea.
    If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
    • brat
    • By brat 14th Jul 16, 7:45 AM
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    brat
    In other words, doubling the sentences for murder won't make much difference to the murder rate, but doubling the chances of being caught would.


    Which is why the move to increase the number of speed cameras and reduce the number of traffic officers on the roads was such a great idea.
    Originally posted by Richard53
    ...which will be why the road fatality statistics went pear shaped when speed cameras were introduced.
    Quantity does not equate to quality, especially when you are enforcing a 'gauche' control placed on a skill based activity.
    Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 14th Jul 16, 11:45 PM
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    Richard53
    ...which will be why the road fatality statistics went pear shaped when speed cameras were introduced.
    Originally posted by brat
    As I understand it, as cameras were introduced in the 90s the KSI rates changed very little. The issue was that from the 60s onwards, accidents and deaths had been on a consistent downward trend, and this came to a halt. Individual cameras could always show they had reduced accidents (due to regression to the mean), but the overall stats hardly moved, when they should have continued moving downwards.

    Quantity does not equate to quality, especially when you are enforcing a 'gauche' control placed on a skill based activity.
    Originally posted by brat
    And when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
    If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
    • brat
    • By brat 15th Jul 16, 2:56 AM
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    brat
    As I understand it, as cameras were introduced in the 90s the KSI rates changed very little. The issue was that from the 60s onwards, accidents and deaths had been on a consistent downward trend, and this came to a halt. Individual cameras could always show they had reduced accidents (due to regression to the mean), but the overall stats hardly moved, when they should have continued moving downwards.
    Originally posted by Richard53
    You're right. From the mid nineties to about 2003/4 was the period where camera prosecution expanded exponentially year on year. It was also the period where the UK experienced a significant negative deviation to the steady, almost predictable trend of fatality reduction.

    It would of course be impossible to single out speed cameras as the cause of that loss of trend of fatality reduction; but significant loss of trend (as this was) must be attributable to some extraordinary change in impact factors. The speed camera experiment and its supporting safety propaganda offered the police the opportunity to decimate their road policing departments, and those two factors must sit alongside any other factors that could be considered to be responsible for the trend loss.

    Regarding RTTM, this is a statistical anomaly which was knowingly abused to show that cameras were responsible for reducing collisions and saving lives, but the figures produced were totally and knowingly false. The DfT stated that over 100 lives a year were being saved through the placement of speed cameras, and this was a provable lie manufactured through the abuse of the RTTM phenomenon.
    Surprisingly, these totally discredited figures are still being used, as on the ROSPA site below.
    Cameras Save Lives
    The number of people killed or seriously injured fell by 42% at camera sites. This means there were 1,745 fewer people being killed or seriously injured at the camera sites per year including 100 fewer deaths per year.
    by ROSPA
    It's easy to make a prima facie case that cameras will reduce fatalities, after all reducing speed of impact will reduce the likelihood of injury. But there is serious doubt that they have any real beneficial effect, and much analysis and anecdotal evidence that they create and engender a less safe driving environment.
    Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 17th Jul 16, 12:58 AM
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    Richard53
    It would of course be impossible to single out speed cameras as the cause of that loss of trend of fatality reduction; but significant loss of trend (as this was) must be attributable to some extraordinary change in impact factors. The speed camera experiment and its supporting safety propaganda offered the police the opportunity to decimate their road policing departments, and those two factors must sit alongside any other factors that could be considered to be responsible for the trend loss.
    Originally posted by brat
    Precisely. No-one is saying that speed cameras caused extra deaths. But at the same time road policing was reduced (it's expensive, while cameras are cheap) and I'm sure that is the main reason why the KSI stats stopped falling.


    A speed camera can capture a driver's speed to a million decimal places, and the ease of automating the subsequent prosecution process makes it possible to detect and prosecute every single speeding motorist at a specific site if desired. But no camera in the world can detect the drunk driver, the bald tyres, the unroadworthy car, the driver on the edge of sleep, the aggressive and the incompetent. Police traffic officers were detecting and dealing with those issues for years until they were put on other duties. And, crucially, they did it with a degree of discretion, which meant that they retained a solid amount of support from most drivers. A couple of times I was stopped to 'have a word', and it modified my driving habits (and made me think) far more than an automated NIP dropping on the mat, which is just an annoyance.
    If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
    • brat
    • By brat 17th Jul 16, 10:48 AM
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    brat
    Precisely. No-one is saying that speed cameras caused extra deaths.
    Originally posted by Richard53
    I'm pretty convinced they have added to the tally, especially given what we know about the way our minds drive.
    Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
    • RuthnJasper
    • By RuthnJasper 17th Jul 16, 11:20 AM
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    RuthnJasper
    However the accident occurred and whatever factors were in play, it's the leaving someone for dead aspect that I struggle with. I could never live with myself if it was me.


    I would actually rather be fined/banned/whatever (not that I would drive under the influence anyway) than have someone else's suffering on my conscience.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 3rd Aug 16, 12:15 AM
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    esuhl
    I was just reading about this driver who got caught doing 154mph!!! He got banned for less than 2 months (and a tiny 365 fine that doesn't come close to the cost of prosecution; his crime has been subsidised by the taxpayer).

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-36953439

    It's insane. At least it was on a motorway with no pedestrians or cyclists, but still... It illustrates how socially acceptable dangerous driving is. People just aren't safe on the roads.
    • Johno100
    • By Johno100 3rd Aug 16, 10:07 AM
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    Johno100
    I was just reading about this driver who got caught doing 154mph!!! He got banned for less than 2 months (and a tiny 365 fine that doesn't come close to the cost of prosecution; his crime has been subsidised by the taxpayer).

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-36953439

    It's insane. At least it was on a motorway with no pedestrians or cyclists, but still... It illustrates how socially acceptable dangerous driving is. People just aren't safe on the roads.
    Originally posted by esuhl
    But clearly a decision was taken by the police/CPS based on the available evidence to prosecute for speeding and not for Dangerous Driving. Accordingly he was sentenced for the offence he pleaded guilty to.
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