The sick farce of concurrent driving bans

The story of the police officer who, sent flying through the air by the driver of a stolen car, immediately got to his feet to pursue and arrest said driver, has made the national news this week.

The police officer, Dan Pascoe, was plainly very lucky to escape with only serious bruising.

While the media focus has understandably been on his heroism, there seems to have been little attention paid to the driver – his offences, and his subsequent punishment. They certainly weren’t mentioned on either the BBC or ITV news pieces I saw.

Unsurprisingly, this individual – one Lee Adamson – has a rather chequered history.

The court heard police followed up information the stolen car was being driven near junction 11 of the M25. After arriving at the stretch of motorway, they spotted the car and Adamson, from Hayes, Middlesex, who drove along the hard shoulder at ‘high speed’ after being seen. Police pursued Adamson at speeds of up to 90mph before the crash, the court heard. Adamson, who had 25 convictions for 53 offences, was on licence after being released from jail in March at the time of the crash.

53 previous offences, of which it is reasonable to assume a fair proportion were driving offences, given that he was already disqualified.

Lee Adamson was driving a stolen car, without insurance, without a licence (again, because he was disqualified), at 90 mph on the hard shoulder. He deliberately drove into a police officer, and then failed to stop after the accident.

How was he punished?

[The judge] sentenced Adamson to 18 months in prison for dangerous driving, four months for driving whilst disqualified and one month for resisting an officer. He was also disqualified from driving for two years and will have to take an extended test. No separate penalties were given for the other offences.

23 months in prison, with a 24 month driving ban.

Driving bans are served concurrently – so Adamson has effectively been banned from driving for… one month.

I doubt he will be taking that ‘extended test’ either – he’s getting straight back behind the wheel regardless.

Adamson is merely one among many criminals who have used repeatedly used vehicles in a lethal manner on Britain’s roads, criminals who the judiciary don’t seem to think deserve to be banned for life, only serving them with concurrent driving bans, that are effectively empty punishments, because they cannot drive anyway. I mention here two that I have posted about previously –

David Howard – who, like Adamson, rammed a police car and police officers, as well as other drivers, in my town of Horsham – was convicted of dangerous driving. But as a disqualification from driving for this offence is only of the order of 12 months, and Howard is serving a five-and-a-half year prison sentence, he will be free to drive upon his release from prison. Indeed, a driving ban is not even mentioned in any of the news articles I can find about his sentencing.

Likewise Terence Fowler – who sped through a level crossing seconds before a train passed, as well as hitting 90 mph on suburban streets – was also convicted of dangerous driving, but again, as he is serving a three-and-a-half year prison sentence, he will also be free to drive upon his release. Again, no mention of a ban in any news articles, presumably because it will disappear while he is in prison.

These criminals – and countless others – are simply not being taken off the roads. It is a sick farce.

This entry was posted in Dangerous driving, Driving ban, Road safety, The judiciary. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The sick farce of concurrent driving bans

  1. Kim says:

    Ah, but the driving licence is now sacred and, as the Tory’s are now telling us at every opportunity, people rely on their cars (or in the case of some criminals, other peoples cars)…

  2. gadders says:

    Or you could, you know, not let them out of jail? That sounds much safer all round. These people don’t sound like the lack of an official piece of paper would stop them driving.

    • Very true. But the fact is no ban is being imposed at all. They are free to drive legally upon release from prison. Short of keeping these people looked up indefinitely (which isn’t likely) the best solution is to apply a serious ban of at least a decade, backed up with serious punishments for driving while disqualified.

      • Driving bans aren’t worth the paper they are written on. Unless we can come up with some sort of centrally linked biometric starter system for cars or start handcuffing these lowlifes to a guard then enforcement is nigh on impossible.

        It’s all too easy to either steal a car or buy one and don’t bother registering it and then start driving around. All the while safe in the knowledge that 99% of the time unless you get stopped by the police you’ll be fine.

        People seem to forget driving is a privilege and not a right. You are in charge of a lethal weapon and if you can’t use if responsibly then there should be stiff penalties.

      • Again, my point is that a driving ban isn’t even being imposed in the first place. I agree that these kind of drivers almost certainly aren’t going to respect any disqualification, but what message does it send out when someone who drives into a police officer is only effectively banned for a month?

        I would like to see these people locked up for longer – but the brute fact is they are going to be released at some point, and what happens then? Lifetime bans are obviously needed, backed up with serious punishments for being caught while disqualified.

  3. I agree with gadders, people like Adamson will get back behind the wheel no matter what, a 10-year ban would have exactly 0 effect on them, they just might go to jail a bit more frequently (if that).
    That being said, I think there should be a change in the law so that only truly exceptional circumstances can be used to claim “excessive hardship” when defending a driving ban. If it means you lose your job, then you should have thought of that BEFORE driving like an arse. In the current economic climate there are plenty of people who will take your job AND drive carefully. And the sentencing should be even stricter if it is your job to drive something around.

    • The solution is undoubtedly to impose more serious punishments for driving while disqualified. At the moment the most serious sanction is a few weeks in prison, which is nothing.

      Agree with you completely about the nonsense ‘hardship’ excuse. The whole point of a driving ban is that it is a punishment.

      • James Lovelace says:

        My brother was imprisoned for driving (exceedingly) drunk whilst banned. Naturally, he had no insurance. When I visited him in prison he wasn’t remotely remorseful, only saying that he would now have no fear of future prison sentences.

        What is required is to make prison an extremely unpleasant environment. I’m all for bringing back the stocks as a form of early intervention – hopefully publicly demeaning people would work as a cheaper and more effective form of punishment. If that fails and people are sent to prison, then they should be doing hard labour, not lying round playing video games and sending the guards out to get pizza for the inmates (my brother’s experience).

  4. If he’d injured a policeman with a shotgun, I suspect the sentence would have been different. Does the tool used to injure and create danger really make that much difference?

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