Road Traffic Offences: Fatal Collisions Debate

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Department: Department for Transport

Road Traffic Offences: Fatal Collisions

Tahir Ali Excerpts
Monday 15th November 2021

(2 years, 8 months ago)

Westminster Hall
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Tahir Ali Portrait Tahir Ali (Birmingham, Hall Green) (Lab)
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It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Rosindell.

Last Thursday in my constituency a three-year-old girl was killed by a hit-and-run driver while crossing a zebra crossing. The 24-year-old man who was driving fled the scene but was arrested later. On Sunday 29 August my next-door neighbour, a 61-year-old bus driver, was struck by a car while walking to work. The car had been stolen and had false plates, and it was being driven by a 20-year-old. Last week he received a sentence of three years and eight months. My neighbour did not need to go to work that day. He only went because he donated all the money he earned on a Sunday to charity. Ghulam Nabi was 61 years old. The dangerously driven car had been stolen—no insurance—and the driver fled the scene. It was only after police released the CCTV images that he handed himself in. Had that not happened, I believe that he would never have handed himself in. If we look at the crime committed and the sentence given, we see that there is no comparison. A three-year-old girl, crossing a zebra crossing with her mother last Thursday on Reddings Lane in Tyseley in my constituency lost her life to another reckless driver. At what point do we say, “Enough is enough”?

These tragedies are examples of fatalities due to reckless driving in the UK, which is a growing concern not only for my constituents but in every constituency across the UK. In both examples the drivers fled the scene, failing to demonstrate any concern for the victims. Such callous behaviour warrants serious punishment under the law. Measures need to be brought forward to help to stem the rise in reckless driving. Every year, road traffic accidents claim over 1,700 lives, with many more injured. Imagine 1,700 lives being taken in another way. There would be uproar. That is 30 to 35 lives being taken on a weekly basis, yet the punishment does not seem to match the crime.

Equally, I believe that councils need more resources to adapt the street scenery in a way that is safe for pedestrians, children and cyclists, and encourages motorists to automatically reduce their speed. We cannot provide 24-hour policing on these roads, so we urgently need to address the issue of street scenery, which can only be done through Government providing resources to councils, and also punishing the culprits of these callous and senseless acts, where people flee the scene and show no remorse for their actions. Not only do we need tougher measures to encourage safer driving; the repercussions of killing someone through reckless driving are currently nowhere near adequate. Sentencing for hit and run drivers must be toughened, and in my view the offence of causing death by dangerous driving should be widened to include the failure to stop, call 999 or render aid on the scene until further help arrives.

This is a plea from everyone in the room. There has not been a single contribution that I can disagree with today, whether it was about constituents in Keighley or any other constituency that has been mentioned—or indeed from those who were unable to make it here and put their cases. It is a plea to the Minister: this needs to be addressed with seriousness, and doing so will receive support from Members on both sides of the House.