Essex

'Cassie's Law': DVLA licence removal changes welcomed

  • 1 February 2013
  • From the section Essex
Victim Cassie McCord
Image caption Cassie McCord was studying AS levels at college in Colchester

Driving licences will be removed within hours from those posing a threat to other road users under new rules.

Changes at the DVLA follow a campaign by Jackie McCord, whose daughter was killed in 2011 by an elderly motorist who police had told not to drive.

Police previously had to write or fax a request for licence removal. They can now telephone or email.

The death of Colchester 16-year-old Cassie McCord led to 45,000 petition signatures for the change.

Cassie, who wanted to become a lawyer, was hit by driver Colin Horsfall on a pavement as she was on her way to college.

Three days earlier, Mr Horsfall failed a police eye test when he drove into the exit of a petrol station.

He refused to surrender his licence and police were trying to get it revoked when Cassie was hit.

Mrs McCord had wanted a change in the law - known as "Cassie's Law" - to give police power to remove licences.

Although the changes at the DVLA do not go that far, Mrs McCord said: "I am confident this is a really good solution.

"The fact the Department for Transport has listened to someone like me who has no power is amazing.

"Next week it will be two years since Cassie died. The timing could not be better."

'Defective eyesight'

Under the previous arrangements, police had to send a letter or fax a request to remove a licence. The process could take several days.

Using the new email system, removing a licence could now take minutes.

Road safety minister Stephen Hammond said: 'We have every sympathy with Mrs McCord and would like to thank her for her valuable work in raising awareness of this issue.

Image caption Stephen Hammond said the new procedures would "accelerate" the licence revoking process

"The DVLA and the police have worked closely to greatly streamline the process for revoking a licence when the police identify that a driver's eyesight is inadequate.

'The decision whether to revoke a driving licence on medical grounds remains with the DVLA, though the process for informing drivers that their licence has been revoked has now been accelerated."

Alan Jones, the Police Federation's roads policing lead for England and Wales, said: "It seems absolute nonsense a police officer who knows someone has defective eyesight has not been able to do anything.

"We believe what the Department for Transport has suggested is something which would work.

"I know Cassie's Law asked for the police officer to have the authority to suspend a licence. In this suggestion, the officer acts as a conduit and we are happy with that."

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