Police urged to increase use of Cassie’s Law to prevent more deaths
- Credit: Photo courtesy ITV
The bereaved family of a teenager killed by an 87-year-old driver has welcomed the prevention of further fatalities because of road safety measures triggered by her death.
But they are keen for the new powers to be used more often and by more police forces.
Cassie McCord, a former Sandringham School student, died after suffering fatal head injuries when a car driven by Colin Horsfall mounted the pavement twice and crashed into her and another pedestrian in Colchester, Essex, in February 2011.
It later emerged at an inquest into the teenager’s death that just three days before striking Cassie, Horsfall had entered a supermarket filling station in Colchester the wrong way, via the exit, mounted the kerb and collided with some trees.
Although back then the Essex Police had no power to temporarily take Horsfall’s licence away, officers had advised him against driving.
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Horsfall told police at the scene of his collision with Cassie that he had put his foot on the accelerator pedal instead of the brake.
Cassie’s brother, Sam, said at the time that his sister would still be alive if the police had had the power to withhold Horsfall’s licence after his first crash.
Her tragic death prompted Sam and the siblings’ mum, Jackie, to launch a campaign, named Cassie’s Law, to have legislation introduced whereby police couldd temporarily suspend the driving licence of motorists they believe were unfit to drive.
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The 15-month campaign, which saw more than 45,000 signatures collected for a petition to Westminster, resulted in a beefing up of police powers, and the closure of a road safety loophole.
New measures introduced in 2013 make it quicker for licences to be revoked by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).
This means that drivers identified as posing a danger behind the wheel can immediately be taken off roads.
Yet figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request show that Herts Police have used the new measures just eight times since the introduction of Cassie’s Law.
Essex Police, however, have used it over six times more than their Hertfordshire counterparts, by making 51 requests to the DVLA.
While locally the use of Cassie’s Law has been low compared to Essex, it has been greater than many others forces, some of which have used the new powers only twice over the same period.
However Jackie applauded the response so far, saying: “All those revoked licences could have been deaths prevented.
“One death avoided is a great result for all the work that we did but at the same time I’m a bit disappointed it doesn’t seem to have been used far and wide.”
Sam thanked all of those who have supported the campaign and the subsequent safety measures which were brought in, adding that he too would like to see Cassie’s Law used more often, including in Herts.