Justice for victims of road trauma

Justice for victims of road trauma

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Over 1,000 people are killed on the road and over 40,000 people admitted to hospital annually in Australia*. The numbers are getting worse, not better. It’s time for change. This is an open letter to the NSW Government, the Australian Federal Government, The Director of Public Prosecutions NSW and the Insurance Council of Australia.

As the voice of families who have experienced road trauma we are seeking change. Too many people die on the roads through the criminal act of another. It is our vision that no more families will ever experience the death of a loved one in this way. The Road Trauma Support Group NSW Australia petition for the following 7 reforms:

1. New language: We seek a new language for reporting road crime. Firstly, the term ‘accident’, risks making crashes seem inevitable and unavoidable. Most often these are NOT accidents but collisions that could have been avoided. Secondly, call it what it is consistently - road deaths caused by a criminal act of another should be called Vehicular Manslaughter or in extreme cases Vehicular Homicide.

2. Stronger deterrent: Stop being soft on road killers and repeat offenders. When a person is killed by a criminal act of another on the road a recommended sentence of at least 5 years with an increase of the maximum sentence to 25 years consistent with the current maximum penalty for manslaughter. Licences are a privilege not a right. People who cause death on the road or have been proven unfit to drive should lose their license for a minimum of 10 years and then they should have to prove they have not committed any offences and have completed traffic offender courses/Victim impact panels.

3. Reform legislation: Urgent Change is needed to the legislative system to ensure justice is served. Greater emphasis should be made to ensure that the judiciary is NOT to give greater weight to the impact on or welfare of the offender over the victims. The Judiciary must consider in their judgement in detail the impact upon the living victims.

4. Support for victims: Formal recognition that every road death leaves behind many living victims. These victims need to be recognised and supported in their grief and assisted through their trauma. Currently perpetrators of road crime get treated better than victims of road crime. The impacts of their illegal acts not only cause death but also a tidal wave of trauma and destruction through families and our community. The knock on ripple effect is widespread and costly.

5. Overhaul of CTP Insurance system: The current CTP system is ineffective, outdated and cruel for people undergoing a traumatic event. We propose a review of current mechanisms in place to support all victims of road crime. 

6. Victim Impact Panels: Mandatory attendance for all DUI and repeat road offenders at Victim Impact Panels. The purpose of the Victim Impact Panel (VIP) program is to help drunk and drugged and repeat driving offenders to recognise and internalise the lasting and long-term effects of dangerous and substance-impaired driving. The objective is to create an empathy and understanding of the tragedy, leave a permanent impression that leads to changes in thinking and behaviour and prevents future offences. The right ripple effect.

7. Education: More needs to be done to prevent and manage road crime. Firstly, this means better educating internal stakeholders such as the Police, DPP and Judiciary regarding managing road crime and road trauma victims.  Secondly, making road responsibilities and the impact of road crime a formal part of the education process of our youth, driver’s licence applicants and repeat traffic offenders. 

Contact Road Trauma Support NSW @ https://www.roadtraumasupportnsw.org/ 

* 1,125 deaths in last 12 months to May 2021, 2.4% up on previous 12 months. Source: Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport Regional Development and Communications. Australian Road Deaths Database.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 15,000!
At 15,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!