A CAMPAIGN led by an Eastbourne woman who lost her granddaughter when she was hit by a driver high on drugs, has been backed in the Queen’s speech.
Pam Sanders, who live in Langney, has been lobbying for a zero tolerance approach to drug driving since the tragic death of 14-year-old Lillian Groves.
The teenager died in 2010 after being hit by a car in Croydon and the driver, who had smoked cannabis before getting behind the wheel, was subsequently jailed.
Together with her husband Peter, Mrs Sanders enlisted the help of Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd and, through the Herald, appealed for local people to back their calls for roadside testing and stiffer penalties by signing a petition.
And this week those efforts appeared to have borne fruit after Her Majesty confirmed at the state opening of Parliament that new drug-driving legislation will be implemented later this year.
Under current rules, police need to prove a drug has caused impairment to driving.
However, the new drug-driving legislation will make it an automatic offence to drive in England and Wales over set limits of specified drugs. Offenders will face up to six months in jail and fine of up to £5,000, as well as an automatic driving ban of at least 12 months.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who met Lillian’s family last November, said that her death “showed the need for roadside drug-testing equipment in every police car” and that current legislation was “all wrong”.
A delighted Stephen Lloyd added, “Mr and Mrs Sanders, and the rest of their family, have shown a tremendous amount of courage in dealing with their loss and campaigning for a more just legal system.
“Currently the law allows someone who has been driving under the influence of narcotics to get off with a substantially lesser sentence than if they were drink-driving.
!This is completely wrong, so I was really happy to support the Lillian’s Law petition.
“I had a number of meetings with Gavin Barwell, the MP for Croydon, where Lillian lived with her parents. Supporting him in Parliament was vital, so that we could keep up the pressure on the Coalition Government.”