Distraught family calls for law change over young drivers

DEMAND: Mary Byrne's family (from left) son Ben Byrne, daughters Sarah Harrison and Sam Rees, and son David Barrett outside Bradford Crown Court after the two drivers who killed her were jailed.

DEMAND: Mary Byrne's family (from left) son Ben Byrne, daughters Sarah Harrison and Sam Rees, and son David Barrett outside Bradford Crown Court after the two drivers who killed her were jailed.

First published in News

Mary Byrne's family are to campaign for changes in the law which would prevent young drivers from driving powerful cars.

Her daughters, Sarah Harrison, 32, and Sam Rees, 34, said there should be similar restrictions for cars as for motorbikes, where riders have to be a certain age to be allowed to ride more powerful bikes.

Sarah said: "Lads of that age shouldn't be allowed to drive such high-powered cars. They should have to start with a smaller size car and build up. It should take into account experience as well as age, and they should have to earn the necessary experience."

They said they were glad Healey and Robinson had been sent to prison.

But Sam added: "Whatever they were sentenced to it would not have brought Mum back."

The family said the judge's hands had been tied by guidelines, which were not tough enough.

"These cars were weapons which caused absolute destruction. It was only a matter of time before it happened," said Sam.

She said their mother was missed "every single day".

"It doesn't get easier, it gets harder. All our energy has been channelled into the court case. Now it is over we don't know what happens next.

"Our mum was doing a great job. But only some of her grandchildren will now have living memories of her. Mum meant different things to us all. We had fantastic memories of living for 20 years at that address. Now we have only one memory - of her being killed there.

"We all live in the area and have to drive along the route where these two drove. It is a constant reminder. It is there every day."

The family praised the police officers who had been with them "every step of the way since the day it happened."

Comments (13)

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5:12pm Tue 8 Jul 14

Victor Clayton says...

Commiserations to the Byrne family.
parents allowing their young lads to drive these cars is hard to understand. there have been a few tragic deaths recently and for them to get insurance they must have financial support. To be fair to the Robinsons they do not look to have encouraged it.
Commiserations to the Byrne family. parents allowing their young lads to drive these cars is hard to understand. there have been a few tragic deaths recently and for them to get insurance they must have financial support. To be fair to the Robinsons they do not look to have encouraged it. Victor Clayton
  • Score: 10

6:34pm Tue 8 Jul 14

bagpuss1965 says...

i think you should be 21 and have a test every year until they are 25.
i think you should be 21 and have a test every year until they are 25. bagpuss1965
  • Score: 0

7:50pm Tue 8 Jul 14

Simon4567 says...

Fully agree, when I first started driving I had access to a typical family car of the eighties, it would do perhaps 70mph with a tailwind and took about half an hour to get there.

A 17 year old can be taken to the local garage by his parents where he will be handed the keys to a car that will do potentially in excess of 100mph and go from zero to death in a few seconds, they might as well be giving guns to these kids, it has the same result.

I am in no way a killjoy, I have a car in my garage that is capable of 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and will do 170mph but the public roads, especially residential areas are not the place for high speed, I understand that, young drivers do not, they should not be given access to fast cars until they have attained the experience and wisdom to be able to drive safely on the roads without being a danger to themselves or other road users.

There needs to be some significant restrictions on performance and speed, all modern vehicles have the capability to be be electronically restricted, new drivers should not be able to go more than 30mph and their vehicle acceleration should be limited. Do this and the number of road deaths and injuries will plummet to significantly lower levels than we see today, its easy to do, its simple, all modern vehicles can be easily modified for both power and top speed electronically at little or no cost to the owner.

It is a simple principle; to save lives, it is easy to achieve, there is no good argument against it so why is it not being done ?
Fully agree, when I first started driving I had access to a typical family car of the eighties, it would do perhaps 70mph with a tailwind and took about half an hour to get there. A 17 year old can be taken to the local garage by his parents where he will be handed the keys to a car that will do potentially in excess of 100mph and go from zero to death in a few seconds, they might as well be giving guns to these kids, it has the same result. I am in no way a killjoy, I have a car in my garage that is capable of 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and will do 170mph but the public roads, especially residential areas are not the place for high speed, I understand that, young drivers do not, they should not be given access to fast cars until they have attained the experience and wisdom to be able to drive safely on the roads without being a danger to themselves or other road users. There needs to be some significant restrictions on performance and speed, all modern vehicles have the capability to be be electronically restricted, new drivers should not be able to go more than 30mph and their vehicle acceleration should be limited. Do this and the number of road deaths and injuries will plummet to significantly lower levels than we see today, its easy to do, its simple, all modern vehicles can be easily modified for both power and top speed electronically at little or no cost to the owner. It is a simple principle; to save lives, it is easy to achieve, there is no good argument against it so why is it not being done ? Simon4567
  • Score: 4

9:11pm Tue 8 Jul 14

mad matt says...

Simon4567 wrote:
Fully agree, when I first started driving I had access to a typical family car of the eighties, it would do perhaps 70mph with a tailwind and took about half an hour to get there.

A 17 year old can be taken to the local garage by his parents where he will be handed the keys to a car that will do potentially in excess of 100mph and go from zero to death in a few seconds, they might as well be giving guns to these kids, it has the same result.

I am in no way a killjoy, I have a car in my garage that is capable of 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and will do 170mph but the public roads, especially residential areas are not the place for high speed, I understand that, young drivers do not, they should not be given access to fast cars until they have attained the experience and wisdom to be able to drive safely on the roads without being a danger to themselves or other road users.

There needs to be some significant restrictions on performance and speed, all modern vehicles have the capability to be be electronically restricted, new drivers should not be able to go more than 30mph and their vehicle acceleration should be limited. Do this and the number of road deaths and injuries will plummet to significantly lower levels than we see today, its easy to do, its simple, all modern vehicles can be easily modified for both power and top speed electronically at little or no cost to the owner.

It is a simple principle; to save lives, it is easy to achieve, there is no good argument against it so why is it not being done ?
I agree with almost everything you say except one - kids these days will quickly find out ways to get round any speed restrictive settings in the car's electronics. The only solution is to restrict the size of the car and engine capacity. A 1000cc engine with no supercharger should be the maximum allowed for the first 18 months after passing their test.
[quote][p][bold]Simon4567[/bold] wrote: Fully agree, when I first started driving I had access to a typical family car of the eighties, it would do perhaps 70mph with a tailwind and took about half an hour to get there. A 17 year old can be taken to the local garage by his parents where he will be handed the keys to a car that will do potentially in excess of 100mph and go from zero to death in a few seconds, they might as well be giving guns to these kids, it has the same result. I am in no way a killjoy, I have a car in my garage that is capable of 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and will do 170mph but the public roads, especially residential areas are not the place for high speed, I understand that, young drivers do not, they should not be given access to fast cars until they have attained the experience and wisdom to be able to drive safely on the roads without being a danger to themselves or other road users. There needs to be some significant restrictions on performance and speed, all modern vehicles have the capability to be be electronically restricted, new drivers should not be able to go more than 30mph and their vehicle acceleration should be limited. Do this and the number of road deaths and injuries will plummet to significantly lower levels than we see today, its easy to do, its simple, all modern vehicles can be easily modified for both power and top speed electronically at little or no cost to the owner. It is a simple principle; to save lives, it is easy to achieve, there is no good argument against it so why is it not being done ?[/p][/quote]I agree with almost everything you say except one - kids these days will quickly find out ways to get round any speed restrictive settings in the car's electronics. The only solution is to restrict the size of the car and engine capacity. A 1000cc engine with no supercharger should be the maximum allowed for the first 18 months after passing their test. mad matt
  • Score: 10

11:56pm Tue 8 Jul 14

shazb786 says...

I absulutely fully agree. I have had this ides for may years due to youngsters driding around eratically and inappropriately on busy streets with no experieince of handling high perfomance vehicles with high BHP.
these are my proposals in there FIRST year they should be allowed to drive a vehicle upto 1.2. litre engine In there SECOND year 1.6 and THIRD year upto 2.0 litre engine. in there fourth year they can drive anything above 2.0.
thus should offcourse be checked as per with there insurance company to make sure they are actually been driving i,e insured for the whole year.
yes its a quite bit to monitor and legislate but the end result will lead to less road deaths. and sorry to hear about the loss of your mother in this tragec way to the BYRNE family.
I absulutely fully agree. I have had this ides for may years due to youngsters driding around eratically and inappropriately on busy streets with no experieince of handling high perfomance vehicles with high BHP. these are my proposals in there FIRST year they should be allowed to drive a vehicle upto 1.2. litre engine In there SECOND year 1.6 and THIRD year upto 2.0 litre engine. in there fourth year they can drive anything above 2.0. thus should offcourse be checked as per with there insurance company to make sure they are actually been driving i,e insured for the whole year. yes its a quite bit to monitor and legislate but the end result will lead to less road deaths. and sorry to hear about the loss of your mother in this tragec way to the BYRNE family. shazb786
  • Score: 5

11:58pm Tue 8 Jul 14

shazb786 says...

I absulutely fully agree. I have had this idea for many years due to youngsters driving around eratically and inappropriately on busy streets with no experience.
I absulutely fully agree. I have had this idea for many years due to youngsters driving around eratically and inappropriately on busy streets with no experience. shazb786
  • Score: 0

12:03am Wed 9 Jul 14

shazb786 says...

Also if i may add vehicles should not be allowed to be remapped / tuned to make them go faster this should be against the law. as the vehicle is factory fitted to do the speed they was manufactured to do. this is very unsafe fo the handling of the vehicle. you see this everywhere small light cars for example 1.6 once remapped can reach 0-60 in double the time it should be doing.
Also if i may add vehicles should not be allowed to be remapped / tuned to make them go faster this should be against the law. as the vehicle is factory fitted to do the speed they was manufactured to do. this is very unsafe fo the handling of the vehicle. you see this everywhere small light cars for example 1.6 once remapped can reach 0-60 in double the time it should be doing. shazb786
  • Score: -1

8:57am Wed 9 Jul 14

BertSanders says...

Agree. Motoroing offence needs to bew given more priority.
Agree. Motoroing offence needs to bew given more priority. BertSanders
  • Score: 2

9:05am Wed 9 Jul 14

Apollo says...

BertSanders wrote:
Agree. Motoroing offence needs to bew given more priority.
In Bradford? You must be jopking unfortunately. The Police gave up on motoring offences years ago.

Ask yourself when you last saw a proper Police motoring car in Bradford?
[quote][p][bold]BertSanders[/bold] wrote: Agree. Motoroing offence needs to bew given more priority.[/p][/quote]In Bradford? You must be jopking unfortunately. The Police gave up on motoring offences years ago. Ask yourself when you last saw a proper Police motoring car in Bradford? Apollo
  • Score: 6

12:45pm Wed 9 Jul 14

r1ch&rd says...

The Byrne family are so right, but it's like pushing water uphill. The authorities don't seem to view this issue with any real conviction.
I thought you got "life" for Murder, anyone travelling at these speeds in built up public areas must accept that they risk being jailed for life - not 5/6 years. It is a blight in every community in the country but it has been allowed to flourish as per the previous comment - it's simply not taken seriously. The law needs changing - now, not in 3/4/5 years after a few more completely innocent people have been lost to their loving families and friends. Thoughts and sympathies to the Byrne family, i know the area well and think of them each time i drive past.
The Byrne family are so right, but it's like pushing water uphill. The authorities don't seem to view this issue with any real conviction. I thought you got "life" for Murder, anyone travelling at these speeds in built up public areas must accept that they risk being jailed for life - not 5/6 years. It is a blight in every community in the country but it has been allowed to flourish as per the previous comment - it's simply not taken seriously. The law needs changing - now, not in 3/4/5 years after a few more completely innocent people have been lost to their loving families and friends. Thoughts and sympathies to the Byrne family, i know the area well and think of them each time i drive past. r1ch&rd
  • Score: 4

9:10pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Sam Rees says...

I would just like to say thank you to everyone who has commented on this link. I am the eldest child of Mary Byrne. The circumstances in which our mum was killed are horrific and read like a horror story. When we tell people the full details they are always so shocked. As a family we want to campaign for a few changes in the laws regarding incidents like this. It includes giving more power to the family of the people killed in crashes. We could not have my mums funeral till 3rd June due to legal restraints that the defendants had power over. Also the type of cars people are allowed to drive. We want an earn your stripes type of law. Each year of clean driving without causing accidents or gaining points on your license should then allow a bigger engine size car for the following year.
The support from the police and crash investigation officers have been fantastic throughout. Believe me they are as frustrated, annoyed and upset by the restrictions they face. Its goverments that set the laws, not the police. These boys were not banned from driving until they day they were found guilty, they bought more cars after the police confiscated the ones involved in the crash and continued to drive. When speed is a proven cause they should be banned straight away, just like with drink driving.
Its all been like a horrid dream, but the support everyone has shown us, including in comments such as the ones above help us as a family. So thank you everyone.
I would just like to say thank you to everyone who has commented on this link. I am the eldest child of Mary Byrne. The circumstances in which our mum was killed are horrific and read like a horror story. When we tell people the full details they are always so shocked. As a family we want to campaign for a few changes in the laws regarding incidents like this. It includes giving more power to the family of the people killed in crashes. We could not have my mums funeral till 3rd June due to legal restraints that the defendants had power over. Also the type of cars people are allowed to drive. We want an earn your stripes type of law. Each year of clean driving without causing accidents or gaining points on your license should then allow a bigger engine size car for the following year. The support from the police and crash investigation officers have been fantastic throughout. Believe me they are as frustrated, annoyed and upset by the restrictions they face. Its goverments that set the laws, not the police. These boys were not banned from driving until they day they were found guilty, they bought more cars after the police confiscated the ones involved in the crash and continued to drive. When speed is a proven cause they should be banned straight away, just like with drink driving. Its all been like a horrid dream, but the support everyone has shown us, including in comments such as the ones above help us as a family. So thank you everyone. Sam Rees
  • Score: 2

10:09pm Wed 9 Jul 14

karen harrison says...

RIP Mary I saw the aftermath of the crash and her families heartbreak at the scene as I live very close. Was awful to see and I hope they get somewhere with their campaign x
RIP Mary I saw the aftermath of the crash and her families heartbreak at the scene as I live very close. Was awful to see and I hope they get somewhere with their campaign x karen harrison
  • Score: 1

3:17pm Thu 10 Jul 14

Ralph Pootawn says...

Insurance prices are already sky high for young drivers, if I can afford to insure a powerful car then I deserve to drive one.
Age shouldn't be a factor, experience should.
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
Insurance prices are already sky high for young drivers, if I can afford to insure a powerful car then I deserve to drive one. Age shouldn't be a factor, experience should. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Ralph Pootawn
  • Score: 0

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