Lorry driver jailed for 8 1/2 years for killing LEJOG charity riders

Toby Wallace & Andrew McMenigall "mown down" by driver who "had almost certainly fallen asleep"

by John Stevenson   September 1, 2014  

Andrew McMenigall and Toby Wallace

A lorry driver who killed two cyclists on the A30 on Cornwall last year has been jailed for eight and a half years after pleading guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, reports the BBC.

At Truro Crown Court, Robert Palmer, 32, also entered a guilty plea for dangerous driving after an incident two months after the fatal collision in which he injured another driver. Palmer was on bail over the deaths at the time.

Toby Wallace, 36 and Andrew McMenigall, 47 were killed when Palmer drove his lorry into them on the morning of Tuesday July 2, 2013 on the A30 in Cornwall. 

Mr Wallace and Mr McMenigall were 40 miles into the 960-mile journey from Land's End to John O'Groats when they were killed.

The two were colleagues at Aberdeen Asset Management where Andrew McMenigall, from Edinburgh, was a senior investment manager and Toby Wallace worked in the company's Philadelphia office.

They were riding the length of Great Britain to raise funds for the Kirsten Scott Memorial Trust, which was set up in memory of a colleague who lost her battle with cancer in October 2011.

The court heard that Palmer "should've been able to see" the two riders. His speed-limited lorry was doing 56mph in good visibility, but witnesses said he took no action to avoid the collision.

Prosecutors said Palmer had not had enough rest periods between shifts at work and had falsified rest records.

The lawyer representing the wives of the two men has described the circumstances of the second offence as "shockingly identical" to the fatal collision.  Palmer had been deriving his lorry up a steep hill on the A30 when he ploughed into the back of another lorry driven by Brian Rabey.

Mr Rabey's vehicle overturned, and he was lucky to escape with only minor injuries.

In his sentencing Judge Christopher Harvey Clark QC condemned the actions of Palmer, saying he should not have been driving as he was suffering from extreme fatigue and exhaustion before hitting the cyclists.

The judge explained how Palmer had been working during his compulsory rest periods and had altered his tachograph to avoid these rest periods.

The judge said: "The evidence is at the time when this accident occurred you had almost certainly fallen asleep but it is equally clear you were disregarding the rules of the road by texting continuously and it would seem at length.

"You completely ignored their presence on the road. In the words of prosecutor Mr Lee you mowed them down.

"It is clear that at the time when this tragic accident occurred you were suffering from extreme fatigue and exhaustion.

"You should not have been driving at all at that time. You failed to ensure that you took sufficient rests. People should not drive when they are feeling very sleepy or as you were totally exhausted.

"All the indications are that long before the fatal collision you must or should have been aware of your condition.

"It is also clear - although I accept not a primary cause of the accident - you had been inappropriately and illegally using your mobile telephone.

"You were using it habitually. People who use a handheld mobile telephone and text while driving carry a terrible risk to other road users.

"The reason's perfectly obvious - a driver's attention to the road is disturbed by his or her texting."

The judge paid tribute to the two dead men, who he described as "fine and good men" who were very successfull personally and professionally.

He said: "Both men were experienced and safe cyclists. It is clear at the relevant time they were visible to other road users.

"Both men wanted to raise money for a truly worthy cause. They were the kind of people who make this world a better place for the rest of us."

William Sellick, mitigating, said Palmer was truly sorry for having "blighted the lives of two families".

"It is clear that his remorse is genuine and profound. He is overwhelmed by the enormity of what he has done," Sellick said, adding that it was unlikely Palmer would ever drive professionally again.

In additio to the custodial sentence, the judge banned Palmer from driving for ten years.

Statement from families

Following the sentencing of Palmer, the widows of Mr McMenigall and Mr Wallace, released this statement:

“There are no words to describe the devastation and loss that we, and both families, feel following the deaths of our husbands, they were exceptional and giant men in every sense of the word.

“It is a tragedy that so many other families are also mourning loved ones who have been killed on Britain’s roads, particularly when many of these deaths were completely avoidable.

“So many of these families do not ever see this sentence brought against the person who has killed their husband, their child, their brother, their father.

“UK transport laws are lenient, charges are difficult and onerous to attain and less and less resource is being dedicated to road traffic collisions.

“Toby and Andrew loved cycling, we believe that the rise in the popularity of the sport must be met by those with the responsibility to improve our transport infrastructure and improve education for drivers.

“We would like to thank everyone who has supported us and been involved in getting us this far.”

Sally Moore from law firm Leigh Day who is representing both Toby’s wife Claire Wallace and Andrew’s wife Anne McMenigall, said:

“It seems incredible that this man was ever let behind the wheel of any vehicle never mind a heavy goods vehicle.

“The judge clearly detailed his criminal behavior, which resulted in these deaths and astonishingly caused another crash, resulting in serious injuries to another driver, just 10 weeks after killing Toby and Andrew and whilst on bail for these deaths.

“The circumstances of this second collision were shockingly similar to the fatal collision which killed my clients’ husbands.

“Drivers of any vehicle, particularly a heavy goods vehicles, carry a significant level of responsibility to other road users.

“The deaths of Toby Wallace and Andrew McMenigall tragically illustrate the catastrophic consequences to cyclists and their families when a criminal lack of respect for other road users replaces that sense of responsibility.”

RoadJustice comment

A spokesperson for the CTC's RoadJustice campaign said: "Cycling on rural A roads carries a risk of death per mile travelled 20 times higher than on urban minor roads, however, the A30 is the quickest and easiest route for those cycling from Land’s End to John o’Groats.

"Too often we hear of terrible tragedies like this case occurring on Britain’s busiest roads. CTC has repeatedly called on the Highways Agency to improve conditions for cyclists on its network.

"CTC is calling for interim driving bans to be imposed on drivers arrested following crashes which seriously injure or kill another person, so that drivers don’t present an ongoing threat to the public before they are formally charged.

"The driving ban imposed in this case is considerably longer than the majority of driving bans given for causing death and bodily harm offences, which tend to fall within the range of one to three years. Palmer will also have to sit an extended re-test before regaining his licence, as all drivers convicted of a dangerous driving offence must do."

29 user comments

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"It is clear that his remorse is genuine and profound. He is overwhelmed by the enormity of what he has done," Sellick said, adding that it was unlikely Palmer would ever drive professionally again.

So remorseful he did it again within a matter of weeks

Why is this not a lifetime driving ban?

posted by balmybaldwin [37 posts]
1st September 2014 - 15:20

22 Likes

That's the kicker though - I don't think there's anything that you can do on the road where the law considers it terrible enough to impose a life ban

Drive up the road opening your door to hit peds & cyclists and you'll still be driving again

The system is a joke

posted by mad_scot_rider [548 posts]
1st September 2014 - 15:39

2 Likes

Remorse so genuine that he committed another offence of dangerous driving just two months after he killed two people?

posted by dp24 [190 posts]
1st September 2014 - 15:43

5 Likes

".....unlikely Palmer would ever drive professionally again."

Unlikely?
Unlikely...... WTF?

This complete fuck-muppet should never, ever, ever be allowed behind the wheel of anything ever again.

If killing 2 people, and then trying again a couple of weeks later isn't enough then what exactly do you have to do in this country to get a lifetime driving ban?

posted by Kestevan [26 posts]
1st September 2014 - 15:58

7 Likes

balmybaldwin wrote:
"It is clear that his remorse is genuine and profound. He is overwhelmed by the enormity of what he has done," Sellick said, adding that it was unlikely Palmer would ever drive professionally again.

So remorseful he did it again within a matter of weeks

Why is this not a lifetime driving ban?

I agree but I don't think the judge gave him any points for remorse. The words you quote were from his defence. The Judge layed into him big style. That sentence is about as tough as it could be in accordance with the guidelines without risking appeal.
http://sentencingcouncil.judiciary.gov.uk/docs/web_causing_death_by_driv...

It's a Level 1 so the most serious category. The range of sentence available is 7 -14 years. The starting point for that is 8 years. There were one additional aggravating factors over and above the level 1 definition. ie Multiple deaths.

The thing to remember is that this was a guilty plea. It looks a trial date was already set so his sentence was reduced by 25%. So that indicates that he actually received a 12years and 9 months sentence.

With only 1 aggravating factor from the list I can see, that indicates that the judge gave him no credit for remorse.

He will not be driving anything at all for at least 15 years. Not long enough I agree. However he will have to take an extended driving test to get a licence after that. Assuming he passes and it's not a foregone conclusion (people like this get a very sceptical test) The question as to whether he has had any points on his licence will emerge. His insurance is likely to be unaffordable for a 40 year ex-con.

It's not tough enough for my liking but given the guilty plea, this judge gave him as big a slap as was legally available to him.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [629 posts]
1st September 2014 - 16:09

13 Likes

Kestevan wrote:
".....unlikely Palmer would ever drive professionally again."

Unlikely?
Unlikely...... WTF?

This complete fuck-muppet should never, ever, ever be allowed behind the wheel of anything ever again.

If killing 2 people, and then trying again a couple of weeks later isn't enough then what exactly do you have to do in this country to get a lifetime driving ban?

There is no such sentence as a lifetime ban. You could have a Public Protection order imposed but that would have to pass muster legally and its reserved for criminally insane people.

Think about what a lifetime ban means in terms of equity for the same offence. For a 17 year old it's going to around 60 years. For this guy it would be about 45 years, for a 75 year old it's not even a real punishment.

then you have to consider whether the impact is equitable. If you make a living as a driver the impact of any ban is far more serious on you than if say you are well off and can afford a chauffeur.

I happen to think that sentences are not severe enough, particularly for the careless driving offences which don't cause death but easily could have. I would gladly increase this chap's sentence were it legal and I would support a change in the law to make it legally available.

The elephant in the room is not that available sentences are too lenient. 14 years is a pretty hard core sentence in this country. It's that day in and day out dangerous drivers are being charged with far more minor offences and that the roads are not very well policed. There is routine dangerous driving and just plain bad and careless driving is so ubiquitous that people don't even bat an eyelid anymore.

The odd lifetime ban is not going to change that.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [629 posts]
1st September 2014 - 16:35

2 Likes

oozaveared wrote:

Think about what a lifetime ban means in terms of equity for the same offence. For a 17 year old it's going to around 60 years. For this guy it would be about 45 years, for a 75 year old it's not even a real punishment.

then you have to consider whether the impact is equitable. If you make a living as a driver the impact of any ban is far more serious on you than if say you are well off and can afford a chauffeur........

TBH I don't give a flying about equity. If you're driving a car ( never mind a goods vehicle) you have a responsibility to protect the more vulnerable around you. If you neglect this and kill someone, you should permanently lose the right to drive......

I do agree however that all driving offences should be toughened up. We need to do something to make the "normal" range of offences (speeding, phone use, tailgating etc) that we see every day, socially unacceptable; in the same way drink driving has largely become in the last few years.

posted by Kestevan [26 posts]
1st September 2014 - 16:53

3 Likes

as usual, sentence much too short. He'll be out in 5. Not good enough.

posted by Karbon Kev [677 posts]
1st September 2014 - 17:33

1 Like

Kestevan wrote:
oozaveared wrote:

Think about what a lifetime ban means in terms of equity for the same offence. For a 17 year old it's going to around 60 years. For this guy it would be about 45 years, for a 75 year old it's not even a real punishment.

then you have to consider whether the impact is equitable. If you make a living as a driver the impact of any ban is far more serious on you than if say you are well off and can afford a chauffeur........

TBH I don't give a flying about equity. If you're driving a car ( never mind a goods vehicle) you have a responsibility to protect the more vulnerable around you. If you neglect this and kill someone, you should permanently lose the right to drive......

I do agree however that all driving offences should be toughened up. We need to do something to make the "normal" range of offences (speeding, phone use, tailgating etc) that we see every day, socially unacceptable; in the same way drink driving has largely become in the last few years.

But the law is concerned with equity. The English legal system is based on common law. That laws and punishments are not arbitrary based on a whim at the time or how nasty or nice the judge was. It is based on precedent and equal punsihment for equal crimes. Ipso facto lifetime bans are problematic.

There is also a practical point to not removing all prospect of legitimate rehabilitation. It removes the carrot.

So it sounds nice but it doesn't stand up to scrutiny legally or practically.

I know there is frustration that so many bad dangerous and careless drivers get away with virtually no punishment. Paradoxically it's the lower end of things that will make a real difference to road safety. Prosecuting far more drivers appropriately will work far better than making an example of one or two like this. Crime is prevented mostly by the prospect of being caught. A t the moment many drivers think they can drive badly and get away with it. And they can. If they thought there was a good chance that everytime they did it they'd be caught and fined and got points then they wouldn't drive that way.

Better policing is the key. I want tougher penalties of course I do. But they aren't a deterrent. They don't think they'll cause and accident or be caught. If they thought they'd almost ccertainly be nabbed, then that would change matters.

And especially if more drivers were driving more sensibly and the idiots stood out like a sore thumb.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [629 posts]
1st September 2014 - 17:34

5 Likes

Quote:
as usual, sentence much too short. He'll be out in 5. Not good enough.

But getting longer.

KalaBlinds 'cos we all need our beauty sleep.

posted by don simon [155 posts]
1st September 2014 - 17:38

0 Likes

Karbon Kev wrote:
as usual, sentence much too short. He'll be out in 5. Not good enough.

It's virtually the maximum sentence less 25% for pleading. Had he been drunk or on drugs or tried to drive off or entered a defence that wrongly accused the victims of causing the accident. That would have guaranteed the maximum 14 years

Had the judge not left any room for that. Ie given him 14 years - 25% then it would have been appealed on that basis. He got 12 years 9 Months. - 25%. 15 months short of maximum.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [629 posts]
1st September 2014 - 17:40

0 Likes

It's time Cameron did something instead of just making sound bites. Make life ban compulsory for death by dangerous driving, not at the discression of a senile old judge!

Angry

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [218 posts]
1st September 2014 - 17:41

1 Like

However he will have to take an extended driving test to get a licence after that. Assuming he passes and it's not a foregone conclusion (people like this get a very sceptical test).

On the contrary, in order to pass the car test he will simply have to drive to the same standard as any other successful learner, although he will have to do so for a minimum period of one hour rather than the usual 30 minutes.
The examiner will have no idea of the gravity of his offence and should assess his driving purely on its merits.

Mike

mike the bike's picture

posted by mike the bike [132 posts]
1st September 2014 - 17:47

1 Like

Make the employer's of truck drivers liable for the actions of their employees and we'll soon see the road-haulage industry clean up its act. Can you imagine if airlines tried to duck-out of their responsibilities if a plane crashed due to pilot error?

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [365 posts]
1st September 2014 - 18:10

7 Likes

Your life is worth £120 ?
Kill two people by driving over them and do less than 5 years in prison!?

Good job he wasn't downloading movies from the internet!

posted by Binky [106 posts]
1st September 2014 - 18:28

1 Like

So potentially out in five years, 2.5 years for each life ended. I am amazed there does not seem to be any obvious repercussions for his employer - he was working on fixing other vehicles for his Company, according to the BBC story, when he should have been resting. He falsified the tachograph records, but the police found out he was doing 62mph in a 40 zone, just earlier in the day.

Who on earth was responsible at his employer for checking these things, and why are the Directors not also being called to account for complicity in this tragedy? We can only hope Lidl act responsibly and never use that firm again.

So angry. Senseless loss.

Regards

Skybird

Skybird's picture

posted by Skybird [13 posts]
1st September 2014 - 18:28

3 Likes

Its still not enough though is it. He had total disregard towards the Rules of his profession, which lead to the catastrophic loss of 2 innocent peoples lives, and all he gets is 8 1/2 years....... he'll be out in about 5. His 10 year driving ban wont stand either, you can apply to have it back early if its to allow you to work. THIS IS A CLEAR AND OBVIOUS CHOICE FOR A LIFETIME DRIVING BAN, NO IFS, NO BUT NO MAYBES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Das's picture

posted by Das [47 posts]
1st September 2014 - 18:29

3 Likes

"Mr Rabey's vehicle overturned, and he was lucky to escape with only minor injuries."

followed by

"and astonishingly caused another crash, resulting in serious injuries to another driver"

Nice consistency there...

posted by AyBee [72 posts]
1st September 2014 - 18:45

0 Likes

Any legal experts out there know if this is the kind of sentence that can be referred for an 'Undue Leniency' review?

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [135 posts]
1st September 2014 - 19:36

1 Like

The posts above that discuss whether this crime deserves a lifetime ban on grounds of appropriate punishment are completely missing the point! The reason this person should be banned for life is to stop him killing someone else! It is clear from his behaviour that he is not fit to drive a vehicle and that he represents a serious threat to other road users (and himself). This is nothing to do with any desire for punishment, it is simply common sense.

posted by Grumpyoldbiker [16 posts]
1st September 2014 - 22:45

0 Likes

The justice system really is a fucking joke. The scumbag should be doing at least a 20 year prison stretch without parole for killing two people and seriously injuring another whilst on bail for the previous offence. His driving license should be permanently revoked.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [303 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 0:04

4 Likes

oozaveared wrote:
Kestevan wrote:
oozaveared wrote:

Think about what a lifetime ban means in terms of equity for the same offence. For a 17 year old it's going to around 60 years. For this guy it would be about 45 years, for a 75 year old it's not even a real punishment.

then you have to consider whether the impact is equitable. If you make a living as a driver the impact of any ban is far more serious on you than if say you are well off and can afford a chauffeur........

TBH I don't give a flying about equity. If you're driving a car ( never mind a goods vehicle) you have a responsibility to protect the more vulnerable around you. If you neglect this and kill someone, you should permanently lose the right to drive......

I do agree however that all driving offences should be toughened up. We need to do something to make the "normal" range of offences (speeding, phone use, tailgating etc) that we see every day, socially unacceptable; in the same way drink driving has largely become in the last few years.

But the law is concerned with equity. The English legal system is based on common law. That laws and punishments are not arbitrary based on a whim at the time or how nasty or nice the judge was. It is based on precedent and equal punsihment for equal crimes. Ipso facto lifetime bans are problematic.

There is also a practical point to not removing all prospect of legitimate rehabilitation. It removes the carrot.

So it sounds nice but it doesn't stand up to scrutiny legally or practically.

I know there is frustration that so many bad dangerous and careless drivers get away with virtually no punishment. Paradoxically it's the lower end of things that will make a real difference to road safety. Prosecuting far more drivers appropriately will work far better than making an example of one or two like this. Crime is prevented mostly by the prospect of being caught. A t the moment many drivers think they can drive badly and get away with it. And they can. If they thought there was a good chance that everytime they did it they'd be caught and fined and got points then they wouldn't drive that way.

Better policing is the key. I want tougher penalties of course I do. But they aren't a deterrent. They don't think they'll cause and accident or be caught. If they thought they'd almost ccertainly be nabbed, then that would change matters.

And especially if more drivers were driving more sensibly and the idiots stood out like a sore thumb.

I understand the concept of the carrot and the post makes perfect sense I agree, however I would apply the same philosophy to the following and invite comment -

Your childs teacher is arrested and subsequently prosecuted for having indecent images and movies of children on their work laptop. Should we ban them from working with young and vulnerable people for say 5 years (as no one was hurt after all) and allow them back to the school environment as removing them from their profession for life also removes the carrot?

With this example not one MP looking to hold their seat and avoid public outcry and media outrage would support such a move. Why therefore do we feel the need to award a 'professional' driver their licence back when they've already taken 2 innocent lives and shown total contempt for others?

To my mind, simple as it may be, a licence is a great responsibility and if you demonstrate catastrophic failure whilst holding it you should (just like the sex offending teacher) expect a harsh and complete removal of such privilege.

Until society at large stops devaluing life and demands the same level of responsibility on the roads as we do in other areas of life we will continue to lose loved ones and hear sickening stories of recklessness blighting countless lives.

Quite simply it's time for change, no excuses.

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [130 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 0:44

5 Likes

I'm not sure if the driver was self employed or an employee but my dim and distant understanding of the tacho' rules is that an employer is obliged by law to regularly review tachograph records and that abusing things like rest periods is very easy to spot. So what about the employer's duty of care to the general public? Why did the driver abuse his hours and was he under pressure to do this? Will his employers be facing prosecution?

I know there are some commercial fleet operators with excellent culture and good safety records but my anecdotal experience of two haulage companies that were employed by a plant near to where I used to live was that one company's drivers were considerate of other road users, stuck to speed limits and I never saw a driver using a mobile.
The other company's drivers regular tailgated me on my bike, overtook in inappropriate locations too close, broke speed limits, would run the pedestrian crossing lights and could be seen using mobiles - its all about the culture, sadly a poor culture around commercial vehicle activities results in this type of tragic case.

posted by antigee [152 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 1:21

1 Like

Carl wrote:
Any legal experts out there know if this is the kind of sentence that can be referred for an 'Undue Leniency' review?

very unlikely.

Did you read the sentencing guidelines I linked to yesterday.
Here it is again
http://sentencingcouncil.judiciary.gov.uk/docs/web_causing_death_by_driv...

The absolute maximum penalty for this crime is 14 years. Here's how that penalty works. The guidelines state that the starting point for the crime (ie that it is simply as described and no worse or better in any respect) is 8 years. The judge then has to decide on any mitigation offered.

Youth or lack of experience can be part of mitigation
An exemplary driving record (ie as a police or ambulance driver) over many years and with a spotless record such as to indicate that this incident was an aberration.
Conduct at the scene for example giving assistance.
Genuine remorse.

The judge looks at these criteria and has to assess whether any apply and whether there might be a reduction in the sentence.

Then the judge looks at aggravating factors.
Drink or drugs use
Previous convictions
If more than one person was killed or seriously injured
If any specific warnings had been disregarded
Other ancillary offences at the time, ie no licence, no insurance, no MOT, driving a stolen vehicle, driving while disqualified
Irresponsible acts like failing to stop, not rendering assistance, not assisting the police, making false allegations about the victims. Attempting to avoid apprehension or detection.

The judge then adds on time for aggravating factors.

So we start with 8 years. No mitigation was offered save the expression of regret. The judge disregarded this. We are still at 8 years. The driver was also summonsed for other offences. Two people were killed. Significant time was added for this. 4 years 9 months added for these aggravating factors. The sentence was 12 years 9 months. The only way to have added more time would be if he had failed to stop or was drinking or on drugs.

The driver also pleaded guilty after a court date was set. His sentence is automatically reduced by 25% for this. The result was a sentence of 8 years 6 months.

Had the judge gone mad with rage and added on any more time then it would have been appealed downwards.

The judge only left himself 15 months leeway or you would have to ask what you would have given a drunk driver, in a stolen vehicle that hit and ran and then tried to avoid detection.

So no there are no grounds for appealing the sentence upwards.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [629 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 11:21

3 Likes

As a cyclist from the Netherlands i just can't understand why you would ride on roads like this. That would be illegal to do overhere. I understand from the article this was the shortest way, but surely on a 960 mile challenge a few extra miles to take the country road aren't such a big deal?

Offcourse the driver is to blame, but i would never ever put myself in danger by riding on double lane express roads...

posted by KnutdeIJsbeer [1 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 11:31

0 Likes

KnutdeIJsbeer wrote:
As a cyclist from the Netherlands i just can't understand why you would ride on roads like this. That would be illegal to do overhere. I understand from the article this was the shortest way, but surely on a 960 mile challenge a few extra miles to take the country road aren't such a big deal?

Offcourse the driver is to blame, but i would never ever put myself in danger by riding on double lane express roads...

Welcome to the site!

I think you underestimate just how privileged you are in the Netherlands. You have no need to take on these horrible roads, as you'll have parallel bike tracks & similar, and drivers who are respectful and used to cyclists when elsewhere.

We have no alternatives Sad

posted by jacknorell [384 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 12:04

1 Like

mike the bike wrote:
However he will have to take an extended driving test to get a licence after that. Assuming he passes and it's not a foregone conclusion (people like this get a very sceptical test).

On the contrary, in order to pass the car test he will simply have to drive to the same standard as any other successful learner, although he will have to do so for a minimum period of one hour rather than the usual 30 minutes.
The examiner will have no idea of the gravity of his offence and should assess his driving purely on its merits.

It's 70 minutes. The same number of minor errors (15) as for the "up to" 40 minute test or any major faults is a fail. That's autiomatically stiffer as it has to be at least 70 minutes. That's 30 more minutes to make minors, (not checking a mirror is a minor fault for example). Examiners for a standard test can cut it short if they are satisfied that the person is completely competent. My son's test last year was just 20 minutes to pass. Extended tests have to go for 70 minutes and that's giving them enough rope to hang themselves in essence.

I happen to ride with an examiner, we were both professional drivers together and we have discussed this once or twice over the years. A first timer is regarded as inexperienced and nervous and often young as well and examiners take that into account. (They get a fair wind if they are intrinsically safe.), Previously banned drivers taking the extended test are regarded as experienced drivers who need to prove beyond doubt that they are safe to give a licence back to. That fact automatically comes with baggage, that somebody thought them fit last time and got it seriously wrong. Ipso facto you had better be really sure this time.

I didn't say it was rigged or a con. I said that examiners are more sceptical. Wouldn't you be? Here's a proven bad driver and you're being asked to give them their licence back. You'd want to be pretty sure that it didn't come back to haunt you.

The stated case that they are treated the same as new drivers may sound nice and be the official position. But that's just like saying that the police treat everyone the same and fairly whether they are young kid on a first offence or known criminal with a long record.

....Yes of course they do, silly me!

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [629 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 15:54

1 Like

I know heavier sentences change behaviour through self-interest but was never so convinced of their success in "sending a message that society takes this offence seriously".

But I've just heard four LWB transit vans worth of trades guys (doing some work at my work building) discussing the case, in quite serious tones. They mentioned thinking the driver had been sleeping, and will be well rested with 8 and a half years inside.

Struck me that I was maybe hearing the sentence's positive impact on casual chitchat and attitudes, quite heartening.

Obvs I'd have banged the guy up for a 20 stretch, but that's another topic..

posted by vbvb [243 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 17:46

0 Likes

Personally I have always found it hard to digest the concept of mitigation when a life has been needlessly taken, let alone two as is the case here. We're not talking peaceful deaths either.

Having experience of being left comatose with resultant brain injury (driver not charged with anything despite driving on the wrong side of the road and hitting me head on) and also losing a 5 year old step sister just three years later to an HGV vs. Car it's fair to say the roads have taken their pound of flesh from me.

Why should we apply discounts when the victim receives no such courtesy? The murderer in this example (let's not beat about the bush) pretty much got a 'buy one get one free'. Great for toothpaste but wholly insensitive for lives.

Seems the more offences you can rack up the less each one individually costs, perhaps extrapolation of this could result in no punishment whatsoever for 97 deaths and the obligatory naughty step for the first three.

I'd argue none of us should be subject to supermarket marketing strategies but instead afforded the dignity and respect an individual human life deserves.

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [130 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 18:50

1 Like