EXCLUSIVE: Families of drink-drive victims launch petitions calling for change in law
Families who lost loved ones at the hands of drink-drivers have joined together to campaign for tougher sentences for motorists that kill. Lorraine, who lost her husband Bob, and Ceinwen whose daughter Miriam was killed, spoke to Change.org’s Nadia Gilani about why “every signature matters” in their bid to change the law.
Biker: The other driver in the collision that saw Bob die was twice over the legal alcohol limit
Lorraine Allaway’s husband Bob was killed in October last year while riding his motorbike. When given a roadside breath test, the other driver was two times over the legal alcohol limit.
Bob was 46 when he died leaving behind his wife, five children and seven grandchildren. The couple were married for a decade.
After Bob’s death, Lorraine who lives in Skipton, vowed to campaign so no one else should have to go through the same experience. Over 100,000 people have signed her petition calling for tougher sentences in drink-drive cases and she says it’s this strength of public feeling that inspires her to continue.
Torn apart: Lorraine who had been married to Bob for a decade has vowed to campaign in his memory
She said: “It’s fantastic – so amazing how quickly we got so many signatures – I didn’t think we would get this far this quickly. People have contacted me asking what they can do and I say, ‘if you’re signing and sharing the petition, you’re helping’.
“I go through the comments people leave regularly and there are so many who have been through the same. They want me to fight for this on their behalf. I feel a strong sense of duty – for Bob – and for them, to make sure no one else suffers the same”.
Alongside Lorraine, Ceinwen who has also started a petition on the same issue in memory of her daughter Miriam who was also killed by a driver who had been drinking.
She was 21 at the time and her killer was found guilty and sentenced to five and a half years and banned from driving for five years. But he will will only serve two and a half years in jail and is due for release next year.
Happier times: From left to right, Megan, Richard, Ceinwen, Lowri, Katie-Ann and Miriam
She said: “I knew I needed to do something. We can’t do anything for Miriam but we can try and make a difference to others. I feel like the justice system isn’t on the side of victims and that’s what we want to see change.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the support and are grateful to everyone who has taken the time to sit down, read our story and sign the petition. Such positivity behind us really gives us comfort and reassurance we’re doing the right thing.
“My husband I can’t believe how many families have lost loved ones in drink driving incidents. Our story is very common and that’s what’s heartbreaking and motivates us to continue”.
Strike a pose: Miriam with Ceinwen, Richard and all of her sisters in a studio photoshoot
Ceinwen lives in Ceredigion, Wales with husband Richard and their three daughters Katie-Ann, 27, Lowri, 21 and Megan, 23, who was Miriam’s twin.
It’s too late for Ceinwen and Lorraine to fight for longer sentences for convicted drunk drivers but if successful in their campaigns, their hope is that tougher sentences will stop drivers getting behind the wheel after a few drinks so that future families don’t suffer as they have.