Killer driver allowed to use MS as an excuse?

I just read on the Evening Standard Website that a killer driver has admitted the killing of a woman and her baby, but somehow as he has MS he is not being prosecuted for Death by Dangerous Driving. ( Driver admits mowing down and killing mother and baby in car)

I am really incensed by this. I, like every one of us in the UK, have had to live with limited-time licenses and the threat of extra tests due to the notifiable disease laws. We all drive, if we still do, within the law and with no favours expected in terms of obeying the road-traffic-act. To use our disease as an excuse for lowering the expectation of safety which pedestrians should have, or for failing to read and understand the speed limits is an insult to all of us.

This young man deserves the full weight of the law, not to be allowed to use MS as a “poor wee me” excuse. Now we will all be faced with suspicion that we are poor or very bad drivers who hide behind our disease.

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I think you’re partly correct. Yes, this story is tragic and yes this individual should face his day in court. I don’t believe however that all pwMS will be viewed as bad drivers who hide behind a chronic health condition.

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Having MS doesn’t exclude people from life and does give additional responsibilities - I gave up my Licence because I never wanted to be in the position, or the risk of it, he has put himself in. I’m not being noble, just safe to myself and others. :pray:victims and the man himself and his family

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I’m sorry to hear about this. In the US, we don’t have to report MS to our state Dept. of Motor Vehicles, but that doesn’t mean that I take my driving lightly. I will, on occasion, drive via back roads to a nearby grocery store, but those days are few and far between. I don’t usually trust my vision, coordination, and reaction time enough to put other people at risk.

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He hasn’t escaped a jail sentence yet, so will kop what he gets, but has dodged the bigger charge, so has used a good blag for his defence to work with, and everyone seems to love victims these days. Amazes me how he gets to plea via a zoom call. The law is just that to the wigged fraternity. Hopefully he’ll have green mile as his pad mate in need of a anal stress toy.

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I drive on a 3 year medical licence, which I fully accept, as MS can change and usually do change over time, however even though I have MS and on the 3 year medical licence I would currently put my driving skills and reaction times up against any other driver.

I’m not saying I’m the best driver on the road but as long as as you are completely honest and open with your driving skills I see reason not to drive if you have MS.

If for one minute doubted my control of a vehicle, and that included my eyesight I would hang up the keys straight away.
I’m sorry but even driving on back roads is not a good enough excuse when theres some doubt in your own head if its the right thing to be doing.

What if there was a kid riding his/her bike on the back roads thinking it is safer ?

I’m sorry but thats just how I feel about this subject.

@jactac I think that what you say is a good, moral stance and having worked in California I can see why @NorasMum avoiding major roads in the US as a safety step is not quite a clear-cut as you think.

My real point is not what morally aware and thoughtful drivers do - it is that the driver in question was driving at 20mph over the speed limit and killed. He has used his MS as an excuse - and there cannot be one. When we drive in any country we do so not as a right, but as a privilege and, as you say, in the UK we are compelled to tell about our disease, be certified competetant and are subject to the same Road Traffic laws as the rest of the population. Drunk driving, under the influence of narcotics and being reckless to the extreme are all illegal and cannot be excused because of a notifiable disease.

This reprehensible individual denegrates all of us, those who obey British, US, or any other country’s laws by claiming an expemption to guilt based on MS. In my view he is doubly guilty by virtue of driving while physically or mentally impared by a notifiable disease and then trying to say he was aware, but doesn’t think he ought to be punished in the same way as someone without MS.

Shame on him, shame on his lawyers, shame on the magistrate who allowed this travesty.

Totally agree.
We could go a step further though.
What if someone with MS was prescribed Sativex to help with their MS symptoms and it really did help them, so much so that they could even start back at work but needed to drive to their place of work.

I’ve tried Sativex on a number of occasions, in fact I could still get it now on a free repeat prescription if i wanted to but for me it just made me woozy and didnt help with the MS, so I stopped taking it, and held off driving whilst trialing it.

Yet, I was told by my MS consultant at the time of trying it out that if I intended driving whilst trying out the Sativex, I should carry a letter with me showing it was being taken for medical reasons, in case I was stopped by the police, as “it’s not legal to drive whilst using it but the general feeling was that no action would be taken if it was being taken for medical purposes”.
His words not mine !

What sort of message is that giving !!

Perhaps I’m being a bit too sensitive this morning, but this seems to be a straight attack against me. Let me make myself perfectly clear: I have not EVER driven my car when I did not feel that I was in perfect control of it.

I essentially live alone. I look after myself. I clean my own home, cut my own one-acre yard, take care of a very large dog and my own home improvements. I have intermittent issues with my limbs, vision, and memory, and I know when those issues occur. By following a simple routine every day, I avoid most of them. I don’t work any more, but I also rarely even need a cane.

I live in a very rural area. I have always preferred the back roads to the major highway coming off the interstate. There are no children riding bicycles or chasing balls because there simply are no children. Or homeless people on bicycles. Or even much traffic at all. It’s not unusual to go the whole way to that store without seeing a single other car on the road.

Not driving most of the time is a personal decision that I made, in part because I’ve done it for too many years and it tends to wear me out more than just being a passenger. If I’m then going to be walking through a store, I want my energy for shopping. it’s all part of the process of pacing myself. Neither my neurologist nor any other doctor has ever suggested that I should stop driving.

My uncle was killed by a drunk driver when my cousins and I were babies, and we were all raised with the understanding that you never get behind the wheel of a car if you are impaired in any way. It’s something that I’ve always taken seriously, and I resent the implication that I would put someone’s life at risk just to go buy snacks.

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@NorasMom I think that jactac may not be comparing like for like. My experience of rural Northern Cailifornia and the contrast between drivers there and in the UK may help put this into context.

School children are able to get a licence to drive to and from school at 16, senior citizens tend to drive on rural roads in preference to highways which are up to 12 lanes, rated at up to 65 mph and because of the size of the country newly rehabilitated drivers are often allowed to drive to and from work but nowhere else. Driving outside the major cities is very much less furious in nature than the urban styles of the UK. One good example is the 4 way stop, which I feel would result in carnage in the UK!

In a massive area like the USA there are not bus and taxi services outside towns and cities, but the distances involved are very large. My take is that most seniors and, by the tone of your messages, your own attitude feel that driving is a great gift, not an absolute right.

What the driver in the UK did seems to have done was; drive at 60% (20mph+) above the speed limit demonstrating no judgement at all, fail to stop for the police which is a crime in itself, then lose control - if he ever had any - and kill. His lawyer did not cliam that he was under the influence of drugs, but claimed that having MS in and of itself was the excuse.

@jactac - your description of the Sativex treatment sounds very worrying, but unlike the doctor, you know how to deal with it obviously. There are many users of common cold cures on our streets who are under the same kind of infuence, but because they are not “affected by a notifiable disease” just get in the car and drive.

@NorasMom - it is easy to drive without seeing anyone at all near to the city I visit, unless I go to a supermarket or into town. We joke that there are 12,000 people who live in the area who use the same markets, work at the same places but unless we have party, do not meet each others families
except at the county fair!

Enjoy life, take care of yourself and be respectful of those around you. Or is that what you said?

I’m sure this driver will be more than happy his solicitor was able to use having MS as mitigation for this tragedy.
Legal counsel are there to do the best for their client using any legal means possible which in this instance they seem to have done.
God forbid any of us ended up in a similar situation, wouldn’t you want your solicitor to do the same… It’s easy to pontificate from the sidelines.

I have to laugh about the 4-way stop. You really don’t have those in the UK? Our area has begun installing your circle things, and they’re a mess. People are going the wrong way, and we have more accidents than before.

@NorasMom ,
Not a personal attack at all.
But yes I did use your “back roads” quote to try and make my point.

There are countless drivers, all over the world who use “back roads” to make a journeys because they know very well that they are unfit to drive, whether that be down to medical conditions, drink, drugs or simply because they are not qualified to drive.

And no driver, going along a back road, side road, main road or any other type of road, doesnt matter how long they’ve been driving, can say 100% who or what might be around the next corner/bend, whether that be a cat, dog, child on bike, child with ball, monkey doing cartwheels, or just some unlucky person out for a leisurely walk.

In the UK we do have to report MS to the driving agency, along with many other disabilities, in fact our consultants & GP’s also have a say in whether they feel we are fit to drive with certain disabilities, and have to inform the driving agency.
Maybe the driving rules are more strict over here, and so they should be in my opinion.

So no it was not a direct attack, it was simply using your quote that seemed to imply that using back roads might in some way be a safer option to drive along.

Not sure though why a “homeless” person on a bike would be any different to anyone else ??

For the most part, the only people who ride bikes on the road around here are the homeless. Everyone else knows it’s not safe enough!