Review and change the guidelines that determine sentencing of drink drivers that kill.

Review and change the guidelines that determine sentencing of drink drivers that kill.

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‘We are calling on the government to review and change the guidelines that determine sentencing of drink drivers that kill’. Please take a 'Moment for Miriam’ and sign our petition.

Miriam left our family home on Saturday evening the 29th of March, 2014 and she never returned. On that evening, on what was meant to be a normal Saturday night, our lives came crashing down and changed forever. At 6.30pm, Miriam left the house happy and looking forward to seeing her boyfriend. Shortly after 7 pm she was dead. She had been killed instantly in a head on collision.

Miriam was only 21 years of age and had her whole life ahead of her. She was one of four sisters as well as being an identical twin. She was a beautiful person, both inside and out. She was talented, generous, gentle and caring. Miriam had so much to offer in life but cruelly her plans and hopes for the future were taken away from her on that night. It is impossible to describe the numbness, the shock, the disbelief, the sorrow and the total devastation that happened to us as a family that evening. From the moment we saw Miriam in the Chapel of Rest, we felt as if our hearts had shattered into a thousand pieces.

The shock and the disbelief that we felt at that moment has remained with us until this day, and will remain with us for the rest of our lives. Miriam had made plans for the future. She had worked extremely hard in University and ironically, she spent that last day of her life doing her University work. Miriam did achieve the First Class honours Degree that she had worked so hard for. One of our hardest days following her funeral was attending the Graduation ceremony on her behalf. Other parents had their sons and daughters with them and they were celebrating and joyful. We were absolutely gutted. She had the degree she wanted so much but she was gone from our lives. Miriam had also made plans with her beloved boyfriend to settle down. Miriam loved Eric with all her heart, and he loved her. They had been together for nearly five years and were making plans for their future.

The guilt we feel that she is no longer with us is there constantly, even though we know that it was only one person that could have saved Miriam on that night. The one person that didn’t care enough about other lives. The selfishness of a drink driver. He was well over the drink drive limit and travelling at speed when he killed Miriam. He lost control of his car and he entered into her path on the opposite lane whilst attempting to negotiate a left hand bend. He collided heavily with Miriam’s car who was travelling in the opposite direction. Police, paramedics and fire crews sped to the scene but Miriam had already died.

Beyond the heartache, grief and anger we feel towards the driver, we also feel betrayed and frustrated by the legal system of this country. After a very lengthy investigation and many court appearances, 18 months later he finally pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 5 and a half years. He was also served with a five year ban from driving. He later appealed the length of sentence and it was reduced to 5 years. He will only serve 2 and a half years in jail at the most. We will never have justice for Miriam. The present sentencing guidelines and the law is an insult to her life and a disgrace to us left behind to pick up the pieces. Changes in the law will not make any difference at all to the sentence given to Miriam’s killer, but sentencing guidelines have to change for the sake of others. When an innocent life is taken, the punishment should reflect the seriousness of the crime. 

Causing death by drink driving is a very serious crime. Drink driving is no accident, it is a decision!  If you are in charge of your vehicle after drinking then you are a dangerous driver and killing whilst drink driving in my opinion should mean an automatic manslaughter charge. Careless driving should not be used at all! The government need to introduce tougher laws and there has to be a stronger deterrent for offenders. Inadequate sentences fail to deter offenders and fail to give victims and families the justice they deserve. With tougher sentences offenders would think twice about getting behind a wheel of a vehicle.

As drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our roads, we are calling on the government to review and change the guidelines that determine the sentencing of a drink driver that kills.

Your signature would be a step towards making a change in the right direction. We kindly ask you to sign this petition and ask your friends to sign it to get the maximum number of signatures possible. Please take ‘A Moment for Miriam’ and sign this petition in her memory. We appreciate your signature and thank you for your time in reading this petition and watching the video.

Ceinwen, Richard, Katie-Ann, Megan and Lowri Briddon