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Mark Bowman calls for change in 'illogical' traffic laws following Caixia Sun inquest

Mark Bowman
09/02/2018

Following the inquest into the death of Caixia Sun this week, Mark Bowman is supporting a campaign to have the law relating to people driving on private land brought into line with drivers on public roads.

Mrs Sun, 50, died at Sunningdale School in 2015 when an uninsured driver and employee of the school crushed her between two cars following a firework display. Mrs Sun's youngest son was a pupil at the school.

Because the 19-year-old driver caused the accident on private land belonging to the school, the police could not charge him with any road traffic offences such as causing death by dangerous driving, or careless or inconsiderate driving. The 155-year-old wanton and furious driving offence also did not apply. He is therefore free to continue driving, despite not having a full driving licence when he caused the accident.

During the inquest, the family asked the coroner to issue a Preventing Future Deaths report to the Ministry for Justice asking for changes to the law around dangerous driving to prevent similar accidents happening in the future.

The coroner, who concluded Mrs Sun's death was an accident, refused because he said Parliament was already discussing the issue with the Department for Transport.

Mark spoke to BBC Radio Berkshire to explain that Parliament did indeed begin a debate last summer following the death of 11-year-old Henry Whitlam who was killed on private land by a man driving a tractor twice over the drink drive limit. Had Henry been killed on a public road, the maximum sentence for the driver would have been 14 years, but because drink-drive laws do not apply on a farm, the driver was sentenced to 16 months in prison because of breaches in health and safety laws.

"It's illogical that this disparity in the law still exists. Parliament may well have begun a debate but nothing has changed since Henry's death and now a similar accident has resulted in the death of a mother of two.

"Alec  Shelbrooke, the Whitlam family's MP, is calling for Whitlam's law to be introduced. But so far nothing has happened, which is why I am throwing my and Fieldfisher's weight behind the campaign to make sure this type of tragedy never happens again."

Mark is also pursuing a civil claim against Sunningdale School on behalf of Mrs Sun's family.

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