Letters, Friday, August 8, 2014

Have your say

Need to be tough on bad driving

THE decision to grant the driver, who caused the death of Sarah Burke, a licence to drive a taxi is an example of the unacceptable attitude towards road traffic crimes.

 The driver has multiple convictions relating to driving and vehicle ownership. What further evidence did the council need to conclude he is a danger to other road users and pedestrians?

 Perhaps the council do not consider road traffic crimes serious offences and believe that offenders should be treated leniently. In this instance, the council failed in its responsibility to provide a safe environment for the public.

 To offer the defence that guidelines were followed is an attempt to deflect criticism for the decision and leaves an uneasy feeling that nothing has been learnt from the experience.

 The Government has announced a review of the sentencing policy for motoring offences. It is hoped that this review recognises the need for sentences which reflect the gravity of these crimes and deter people from placing others at risk by driving dangerously or carelessly.

 Increased sentences, which include lifetime bans for some offences, will not be sufficient to reduce the high number of fatalities and injuries which occur every year on our roads.

 There needs to be a fundamental change in the attitude of the community.

 We need to recognise that drivers who ignore speed limits, use their mobile phones when driving and ignore the Highway Code are behaving irresponsibly and are a danger to themselves and others.

 Everyone should be willing to rebuke them for doing so and support the police in their efforts to enforce all laws relating to driving offences.

John Thompson,

RoadPeace North East

Drivers are getting away with murder

THE law is an ass or should that be the law is a slap on the wrist?

 This is even more so when it comes to motorists.

 For many years too many drivers have been getting away with too much.

 Stephen Burke is right to want killer drivers’ sentences to start at 10 years. Also, I don’t think that criminals should serve only half of their sentences.

 These lethal drivers should be banned from driving for life and so should all the drivers who have been repeatedly banned.

 We don’t need them on the roads and we have more than enough traffic as it is.

 The Government needs to act now to pass laws with adequate punishment and imprisonment to reflect the seriousness of these crimes. Judges should then pass sentence accordingly to avoid letting victims and their families down.

 In the Echo on July 25, there was a report of a different driver who had been banned eight times but has been given a non-custodial sentence. This was only one time less than Sarah Burke’s killer.

 It is like playing Russian roulette.

 The defending solicitor of the eight-times banned driver made excuse after excuse for the accused then urged the bench not to send him to prison saying he had a job offer which could occupy his mind and he would be able to take driving lessons with the money he would be earning.

 He had a job when he committed the last offence and he still committed the crime rather than pay for driving lessons.

 When will judges and magistrates do their job properly?

Name an address supplied

Misplaced blame

IN his letter (July 24)M McCardle wrote how it was utterly disgusting that a privileged few think it acceptable to spend a mind-blowing £6billion plus on building a new warship.

 Especially in these days of savage cuts in public spending, when increasing numbers of people have to depend on food banks, there is growing child poverty and unemployment. There are a couple of points to be raised here. Firstly, the budget cost of £6.2billion was for two carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, not for one new warship.

 Secondly, and most importantly, it was the Labour Government under Prime Minister Gordon Brown which placed the order for these vessels.

 The contract for the vessels was announced on July 25, 2007, by the then Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne, ending several years of delay over cost issues and British naval shipbuilding restructuring.

 The contracts were signed one year later on July 3, 2008.

 Was it wrong to place an order for ships to be built and for a privileged few to think it acceptable to spend a mind-blowing £6billion plus just as the economy had collapsed under that Labour Government?

Keith O’Brien,

Middle Herrington

Counting the cost

I AM now a member of the newly-formed pensioners for holidays.

 Having visited Blackpool on many occasions, either alone or with lady friends, I now find myself with the pension brigade – my older brother and his associates.

 We have visited many places, benefiting, as pensioners, from a bus pass and in Blackpool you could enjoy a free trip on the tram. That’s all changed now and you have to pay.

 On a recent weekend trip, I ventured along the promenade, my knee gave me trouble so I decided to travel two stops back to my hotel. It cost me £1.50.

 We had planned a trip to Fleetwood, but I doubt we could have got a loan in time. So we settled for the bus, which is still free. It took a very tiring 48 minutes.

 Time marches on, so we may not visit Blackpool so much. A pension only goes so far.

 I suppose we’ll have to settle for the Sunderland illuminations this year, and walk through Roker Park to see its lights.

John A Stott,