On day five of the RoadPeace Andy Cox Challenge, a woman whose partner was killed by a drink driver in a hit-and-run crash is calling for urgent changes to be made to the law giving police the power to suspend serious driving offenders from the moment they are caught.
As the law currently stands, no suspension can be imposed until after a court has convicted an offender or they have pleaded guilty. This is one of issues addressed in today’s theme – Legislation and Roadside Justice.
Christina Worsfold, whose 34-year-old partner, Tom McConnachie was killed on Budshead Road in Plymouth, in February 2019, is pressing for Tom’s Law to be introduced – allowing the police to be able to suspend drink, drug or dangerous drivers until they appear in court. It would then be for the Judge to decide whether a ban continues or they are able to continue to drive again.
The Tom’s Law petition was signed by 104,868 people and was debated in Parliament in January 2022. Christina and Tom’s family are eagerly awaiting the outcome.
Leaving Tom fatally injured in the road, the driver of the car that hit him drove to Okehampton where he set fire to the vehicle in a bid to destroy the evidence.
On January 31, 2020, Plymouth Crown court sentenced the offender to 10 months in prison, but he would only serve three-and-a-half months. He was also given a three-and-a-half-year driving ban with extended retest after he pleaded guilty to drink driving for the second time, failing to stop, driving with no insurance and perverting the course of justice. The offender was able to continue driving for 11 months after he killed Tom before he was disqualified.
Expressing her support for the Andy Cox Challenge, a national road danger awareness-raising campaign involving half of the UK’s police forces, Ms Worsfold said: “It’s outrageous that offenders can continue to drive after breaking the law and ruining people’s lives as only the courts can disqualify a driver.
“With Tom’s Law we want Police Officers to be able to issue a suspension notice to an offender when arrested at the roadside to stop them from driving until they attend court to keep road users safe.
“Tom’s Law would help to safeguard the public and other road users, and help other families who unfortunately will be in our situation in the future.”
She added: “It has been a hard three years for us since losing Tom. He had his whole life and our future ahead of him. We will continue to fight to keep our roads safe.
“We are supporting Det Chief Supt Andy Cox in his challenge to help bring awareness and change to make our roads safer for everyone. This is really important, and changes are long overdue.
“Please help by supporting and donating to this worthy cause. Andy, you’re amazing – keep up the good work.”
Donations can be made to the RoadPeace Andy Cox Challenge here: www.justgiving.com/campaign/andycoxchallenge2022
Updated on: 20 May 2022