Mum's campaign for change on the roads in memory of partner Richie Jordan moves forward after MP Bridget Phillipson's meeting with Department for Transport
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Carol King has been calling for a change in process following the death of her partner Richie Jordan – who was a passenger in a speeding car involved in a crash – in August 2019.
Along with her MP Bridget Phillipson, who represents Houghton and Sunderland South, she is working on bringing forward a change whereby motorists suspected of being at fault in a serious or fatal collision, whether this is through careless or dangerous driving, drinking alcohol or taking drugs, have their licences temporarily suspended while a police investigation continues.
Last month, the issue was raised in a Westminster Hall debate and Ms Phillipson also attended a meeting with one of the Department for Transport’s ministers; The Baroness Vere of Norbiton.
The Department for Transport intends to publish a call for evidence in due course.
Carol, mum to Quinn, four, and two-year-old Gray, said she’s looking forward to being involved in discussions going forward, and that hearing the issue spoken of at national level is an encouraging step.
She told the Echo: "The call for evidence feels like huge progress quite quickly.”
“You need normal people like me who have been through this for [the campaign] to go forward.”
A call for evidence is an information-gathering process, where views on proposed policies or potential legislative changes can be shared with the Government.
Providing an update, Ms Phillipson said: “I recently met with the Minister for Roads, Buses and Places on June 20, where I outlined Carol’s tragic story and the case for reform.
"The Minister stated that the Government intends to publish a call for evidence on the Road Traffic Act later this year.
“I welcome this change and look forward to meeting the Minister alongside Carol once the call to evidence has opened. However, there is still much work to be done.
“I urge the Department to bring forward proposals as soon as possible. The longer this issue is delayed, the longer families will be put at risk.”
A new sentencing regime came into force at the end of June, which gave judges powers to hand down life sentences to dangerous drivers who kill, and careless drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs.
Mark Thompson, of Seaton Crescent, Seaham, was jailed for six years and eight months in August last year, after admitting charges of causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.
At the time of the fatal collision on the A19 near Houghton in 2019, Thompson tested positive for a type of cocaine and recorded 118mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.
A Department for Transport spokesperson added: “We are listening closely to the concerns of those affected by tragic cases of death or serious injury on our roads, and our upcoming call for evidence on motoring offences will reflect many of the issues they have raised.”