COMMENT: Punishment will be more fitting to the crime

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It is a widely-held view that punishment should fit the crime, and some would argue that the British justice system sometimes falls short of that ideal.

So many will welcome the news today that drivers who kill innocent people on our roads either because they are speeding, are drunk or are high on drugs will face tougher sentences — including life imprisonment for the worst culprits.

Regional media like The News often have the sad duty to report on tragic deaths on our roads.

Behind every one of those headlines is the harsh reality of a life cut short, a family left to mourn, and, often, anger that the courts have been unable to impose harsher punishment on the drivers responsible.

Our Drive for Justice campaign, backed at a national level by our publisher Johnston Press, presented a welter of evidence to the government calling for tougher sentences, and we are proud to be part of the victory that has been chalked up today.

Our coverage today highlights one particular case where grieving mother Sarah Hiscutt welcomes the news, though she regrets that it has come too late for her family.

MP Caroline Dinenage recalled the Gosport case of two young women mown down by a driver high on a cocktail of drink and drugs, and said: ‘The only life sentence was for the families and friends who have to carry the weight of this tragedy.’

We hope that the threat of tougher sentencing will act as a deterrent to those who flout the rules of the road, and dice with not only their own deaths, but those of others.

It may offer a small crumb of comfort to thousands of bereaved mothers like Sarah Hiscutt, that the legacy of their tragedies offers some hope that fewer will die on our roads in future.

And that if more lives are lost, the punishment will be more fitting to the crime.