Act now to save lives

Catherine Roberts delivers the eulogy at her father's funeral. Below: Martin Roberts. Main picture: Marcus Whisson        www.communitypix.com.au   d431763
Act now to save lives
Catherine Roberts delivers the eulogy at her father's funeral. Below: Martin Roberts. Main picture: Marcus Whisson        www.communitypix.com.au d431763

THE daughter of Martin Roberts, who was killed in a car crash in Karrinyup earlier this year, says changes to the Road Traffic Act are not enough to deter people from driving carelessly and putting people’s lives at risk.

The State Government introduced changes to the Act earlier this month.

Catherine Roberts said it was about time the Government started doing something about WA’s road laws, which she said were behind other states, but more needed to be done.

Road Safety Minister Liza Harvey said a new offence of careless driving causing death, grievous bodily harm and bodily harm would give courts the ability to jail people whose careless driving resulted in death or serious injury.

“Currently, the maximum penalty for careless driving where a person is killed or seriously injured is a $600 fine, which is completely inadequate and not in line with community expectations,” she said.

“The lack of an adequate penalty for this offence has been expressed by the State Coroner, a senior magistrate and the general public.”

The maximum penalty for the new offence would be three years in prison and/or a $36,000 fine.

Other changes included licence disqualification beginning after a prison term was served and blood alcohol limit imposed on supervisors of L-plate drivers below 0.05.

Ms Roberts’ father was killed by drunk driver Michael Craig Burvill, who is serving a four-year jail sentence.

She said the changes were minor and would not deter people who drove carelessly.

“It is a good thing that this allows the courts to put these penalties in place but unfortunately the maximums are still so low so the chances of a maximum actually being given, I imagine, would also be very low,” she said.

“The State Government should not be looking at what the maximums should be, they should be instilling minimum sentences.

“If you kill someone through your own fault, you should go to jail for at least a minimum of five years.

“And that five years is separate from the other offences, if there are any.”

Ms Roberts said until drastic changes were made to penalties and minimums put in place, people were going to continue to die and get hurt by drivers who knew they could get away with it because of “flimsy” road laws.

“Careless drivers should not be given the privilege to drive again, especially if you kill someone because of it,” she said.

“In fact, if you kill anyone by driving, through whichever charge it may be, you should never ever get your licence back.”