Justice for Mackenzie
Justice for Mackenzie
Why this petition matters
Mackenzie Blake had finished her shift at McDonalds Blaxland NSW on Monday 1 November 2021 and was walking along the footpath to the station to catch the train home, when a truck mounted the footpath and killed her. Mackenzie was just 21 years old, making plans to follow her dreams.
The person driving the truck had been disqualified from driving since 2004 (17 years of Mackenzie’s life), had never been licenced to drive a truck and tested positive to drugs. This person had continuously committed driving offences over the last 17 years whilst disqualified that had resulted in time in jail.
As a mother along with my sons we have experienced the worst kind of Road Trauma in the loss of Mackenzie and we are writing an Open Letter for change, as we have been informed that because of the current outdated laws in NSW he will likely only be sentenced to 4 years in jail, less time served.
It’s time for change, the charge should be at a minimum Vehicular Manslaughter or in extreme cases such as this, Vehicular Homicide. Questions need to be asked, how does a continued disqualified driver Register a vehicle – in particular a heavy vehicle such as a truck that they are not even qualified/licenced to drive.
We are writing an open letter to the NSW Premier, the Australian Prime Minister, The Director of Public Prosecutions NSW, the Minister for Justice and Police, the Minister for Roads and the Insurance Council of Australia.
As a family that has experienced the worst kind of road trauma, we are seeking change. Too many people die on the roads through the criminal act of another. We do not wish to see another family experience the devastation we have and we ask you sign the 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, 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.