On 21 August last year our lives were devastated by the news that our 19-year-old daughter Bryony Hollands had been killed by a drink-drug driver while walking at lunchtime with her boyfriend Ben on the pavement of a 30mph road.
They had both just completed their first year studying music at the University of Sheffield. Bryony had arrived in Nottingham the evening before to stay with Ben’s family – she never returned home. The driver, who was nearly three times’ the drink-drive limit, tested positive for cocaine and according to eye-witnesses was overtaking on blind bends at speeds estimated to be 60-70mph just before losing control. He will spend just four years in prison.
On 11 July I was outside parliament with members of four other families, all bereaved by killer drivers, supporting road safety charity Brake’s #RoadstoJustice campaign. Some of you may have seen the media coverage. Their stories are equally harrowing, yet at four years Bryony’s killer will spend longer in prison than any of the others.
Brake has launched a petition which has gained nearly 10,000 signatures this week, but we desperately need more.
If you agree that such killers should spend more than the typical two to three years inside for causing death by dangerous driving (accounting for an early guilty plea and automatic release after half the remaining sentence) then I would urge you to sign it. Unless we act together, more families will continue to suffer injustice and, given an average of five deaths on UK roads each day, it could easily be someone known to you or your friends. Together we can make a change.
Mark Hollands, Richard Wilson Long Solicitors, Goring-on-Thames