New offences unveiled by the Home Office to deal with drivers who cause death on the roads have been welcomed by regional newspapers which had campaigned for tougher sentences.
The introduction of a new offence of causing death by careless driving, with a maximum sentence of five years in prison, is a victory for the Birmingham Mail, the Cambridge Evening News and the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle.
A new offence of causing death when driving when unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured, with a penalty of up to two years in jail, will also be created under amendements to the Road Safety Bill.
The Cambridge Evening News is celebrating after launching a campaign for a new offence of causing death by careless driving last month.
The paper began the campaign after John Iggulden lost wife Jennifer in an accident in April, and a careless driver was fined £1,800 and banned from driving for two years for his part in causing the crash. Police records showed the man was on the phone just before the crash.
Editor Murray Morse said: “Local newspapers should be at the heart of campaigning in the community and keep politicians accountable.
“I realise this issue has been highlighted by a number of other local papers acrosss the country and that we can all be delighted with the end result.
“The readers have really responded to the call to arms and it shows how in touch papers can be with the community. The number of families who contacted us to thank us for highlighting this issue has been amazing.”
The Birmingham Mail had launched Josh’s Campaign after two-year-old Josh Berrill was killed by a hit-and-run driver, and called for motorists who put other people in danger to face jail rather than just a fine.
The Evening Chronicle had also launched a campaign following the death of a local child.
Justice for Rebecca was launched after six-year-old Rebecca Sawyer was killed when the car she was in was hit by a banned driver, and called for tougher sentences.
A campaign peititon was signed by some 48,000 readers.