Remain and Report
Having a loved one killed or seriously injured in a road traffic collision is, for most people, the worst moment of their entire lives. Finding out that the driver fled the scene, adds an additional layer of cruelty and criminality.
This is why Action Vision Zero and RoadPeace West Midlands are campaigning to ensure hit-and-run drivers are better held to account. #RemainandReport is a volunteer-led campaign. It was created due to many of the West Midlands group members being bereaved by drivers who failed to remain at the scene, and concerns that there are loopholes in the law which incentivise hit-and-run.
The campaign has four key calls:
- Charges that are fit for purpose
- A reasonable maximum reporting time
- Licence suspensions for the sake of safety
- Appropriate terminology
Amy Aeron-Thomas (Traffic Justice Coordinator, Action Vision Zero) and Lucy Harrison (RoadPeace West Midlands Local Group Coordinator) have been leading the campaign, working together with many families.
Lucy Harrison, Amy Aeron-Thomas and Rachel Maclean
On 18th January 2023, Rachel Maclean (Lucy’s MP) hosted a drop-in session in Parliament, which gave families bereaved through hit-and-run an opportunity to talk directly with MPs, and impress upon them the need for change. The RoadPeace West Midlands legal panel members CFG Law and Slater and Gordon sponsored the drop-in session, helping to make the day possible.
Mandy Oliver, who is one of the family members fighting for change, after the loss of her son, Will, said, “It felt for the first time that we matter, and that Will mattered, and that we can make a difference.”
A report was produced for parliamentarians and policymakers, along with a leaflet advising MPs of how they can help – these were launched at the event. Contributions to the report were made by 17 families bereaved by hit-and-run, including the families behind the campaigns for Ryan’s Law, Shakeel’s Law and Tom’s Law. Many of the families featured in the report attended the event, along with members from the West Midlands group.
The documents produced for the parliamentary event can be viewed here:
It was a powerful and inspiring afternoon with numerous MPs coming to hear more about Remain and Report, including Peter Dowd (who is himself bereaved due to a hit-and-run driver). Katy Bourne, Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex, who leads on roads policing, spent considerable time talking with families about their experiences, while Rachel Maclean spoke movingly about meeting with the families, and being able to welcome them to Parliament.
Lucy said, “Rachel has been amazing – she is providing so much help and guidance. I wrote to her almost as soon as she was elected in 2017, telling her about my experience of losing my brother to a speeding, hit-and-run driver. She always has time to listen and support where she can, she is a great MP.”
There was a hopeful atmosphere at the event, and it was clear to see MPs were deeply moved, with many immediately willing to show their support for the campaign.
A group of victims, campaigners and RoadPeace members and volunteers
Currently, there is an existing offence of Fail to Stop; but, this applies to all severities of road traffic collisions where a driver has failed to remain at the scene. This charge is almost always tried in the Magistrates’ Court. It has a maximum custodial sentence of six months. This charge also creates an opportunity for impaired drivers to avoid testing by leaving the scene and reporting later, escaping more serious charges. Drivers have a maximum of 24 hours to report a collision, under legislation dating back to 1988. Adding to this, victims and their families can be deeply affected by the knowledge that drivers can very often get straight back behind the wheel as though nothing has happened. Insensitive terminology also exacerbates their pain – leaving the scene of a serious collision is a conscious choice, but legislation calls this an ‘accident’.
Pauline Fielding, North West Group Coordinator, with RoadPeace staff
Amy and Lucy will be continuing to hold regular #RemainandReport campaign meetings together with the many families, and will be pushing for the promised Department for Transport (DfT) consultation. They will also be continuing to reach out to police, solicitors and the CPS.
They know they are not the first nor the only ones campaigning for reform in this area, but want to work with others, to support common aims and share information.
If you are interested in learning more about the campaign, or have been bereaved or seriously injured as the result of a hit-and-run, and would be willing to share your experience, please contact Amy or Lucy or see the Remain and Report Facebook page:
Amy Aeron-Thomas – Amy@ActionVisionZero.org
Lucy Harrison – email@example.com
Updated on: 26 January 2023