What RoadPeace is doing to help
- We produce a guide on the Charging Decision which helps bereaved families pursue a criminal charge prosecution. We also write a guide on Going to Court which aims to help families understand what happens at a trial.
- We try to answer queries from families about charging decisions. This often includes concerns over downgrading or possible reasons for delay.
- We campaign for reform of our driving offences. We call for manslaughter to be the default charge for culpable road deaths, revising the charging standards of Careless Driving and Dangerous Driving, as well as key gaps such as (Knowingly) Leaving the Scene of a Fatal/Serious Injury collision. We want criminal charges to recognise when serious injury has been caused.
- We publicise the overlap in the charging standards of Careless Driving and Dangerous Driving in a graphic. And we have tried to raise awareness of the inconsistency in prosecution by publishing data showing how the ratio of Dangerous Driving prosecutions to Careless Driving prosecutions varied widely across the country. In 2012, we held a Traffic Justice panel discussion entitled You say Careless, I say Dangerous, with speakers from the CPS, Magistrates Association, academics and CTC, as well as RoadPeace.
- We have lobbied for greater transparency with charging decisions. Police should report the reasons for No Further Action as this could be due to driver innocence, lack of evidence, not in public interest, or lack of confidence in getting a jury to convict. We have called for police to pass investigation files to the CPS when requested by a bereaved family.
- We have called for the CPS and the MoJ to review the borderline cases where Causing Death by Dangerous Driving is downgraded to Causing Death by Careless Driving and where convictions of Causing Death by Careless Driving result in a custodial sentence.
- We have lobbied for HMCPSI to review the CPS prosecution of road deaths. This has been reviewed three times and RoadPeace has been consulted each time.
- We ensure our calls are evidence based. We monitor the MoJ statistics on the prosecutions and convictions of driving offences, especially for causing a death. We publish our annual Causing death by driving briefing which summarises the number of prosecutions, sentences and the sentences given for the main causing death by driving offences.