Change Drink Drive Law
Teenager collects 13,000-name petition to change drink-drive laws after brother killed
18 Jul 2013 00:00 / Home
She set up an online petition calling for an automatic ban for those awaiting trial for drinking and driving offences
A schoolgirl whose brother was killed by a drink-driver has urged David Cameron to change the law.
Rebecca Still, 15, wants a legal loophole closed which allowed Max McRae, 21, to continue driving for nine months before he pleaded guilty to mowing down her brother Jamie, 16.
She collected 13,000 signatures on an online petition calling for an automatic ban for those awaiting trial for drinking and driving offences and has presented it to Downing Street.
Rebecca said: “If the law is stricter, hopefully no one will get into a car while drinking. No one else will have to lose a friend, brother or son.”
Rebecca was 13 when McRae’s Vauxhall Corsa mounted a pavement before smashing into A-level student Jamie. McRae was almost twice the legal limit and was later jailed for four years.
Rebecca decided to launch her online campaign when she learned he was allowed to remain on the road for almost nine months while on bail.
Her mum Karen Strong, 39, said: “She would spend a lot of time alone in her room and I just thought she was grieving.
“But then one evening she came downstairs and told me she had started a petition. My jaw just dropped.
"The fact that she did it all by herself was just unbelievable. I wouldn’t know where to begin. I was so proud.
“After that the whole thing just snowballed.
“We had already contacted our local MP and he took it to Question Time, we just couldn’t believe it.”Handover: Taking petition to Downing Street
Karen, from Otley, West Yorkshire, added: “Everyone is so proud of her, she’s just amazed me. She and Jamie were so close. He would wait at the school gates so they could walk home together, they were inseparable.”
The family believe licences should be automatically suspended as a condition of bail in drink-drive cases.
Karen said: “If someone killed somebody with a gun would that person be allowed to keep a gun licence until it went to court?”
Jamie was killed as he walked to a Chinese takeaway near his home on New Year’s Eve in 2010.
McRae, from Arthington, near Leeds, admitted causing death by careless driving in 2011 and was jailed for four years at Leeds crown court.
MP Greg Mulholland supported the campaign and made a speech in the House of Commons calling for a change in the law.
He has said: “In the case of this particular kind of serious offence it seems common sense that they should not be allowed to drive until the case has been heard.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The decision on whether to impose a ban while on bail is a matter for judges.
"They already have the necessary powers.”