Family plea for tougher sentences for drivers using phones

Kai was two years old when he was hit by a van driver who was using his mobile at the wheel. His parents are calling for a change in the law.

Parents Niyutee and Rakesh have shared their story on Sky News. Two-year-old Kai was crossing the road with his grandfather in north-west London when a vehicle went through a red light and hit them both. Kai, now aged four, suffered a brain injury that has left him partially blind and unable to walk, talk or swallow. His grandfather recovered from his injuries but Kai spent time in hospital then eight months at The Children’s Trust for specialist brain injury rehabilitation. The family are calling for tougher sentences backed by their local MP, Conservative Bob Blackman. In a video, mum Niyutee told Sky News: "He's obviously very changed. He is not independent, things are done for him." The driver had been using a handheld mobile phone at the time of the accident and was given a two-year suspended sentence for each victim. "There needs to be a change in law," said Kai's father Rakesh. "If I use my mobile phone, nothing is going to happen to me. But when you go out on the road and punch someone or stab someone, then you’re going to go in jail. What's the difference? You've just ruined someone's life." Currently, the maximum penalty for an individual found guilty of causing serious injury by dangerous driving is five years’ imprisonment and/or a fine with a mandatory two-year minimum period of disqualification and endorsement. Last year, the government agreed to increase maximum sentences for those who cause death by dangerous driving to life behind bars. However, more than 26,000 motorists were caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving between 2017-2018. The penalties for using a handheld mobile phone while driving are £200 fines and six penalty points. Novice drivers have their licenses revoked for using their phone behind the wheel in their first 2 years of driving. Niyutee said: “Our lives have been changed forever. We’ve started a petition to change sentencing for drivers on mobile phones causing serious injury/death. We want to do what whatever we can to stop this happening to other families.” Parents Niyutee and Rakesh have raised awareness of brain injury since the accident and both took part in a skydive in September raising over £12,000 for The Children’s Trust.
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