The crash that claimed the life of Jo-Anne Fuller.
The crash that claimed the life of Jo-Anne Fuller. Jocelyn Watts

Petition fights for justice after fatal crashes

THE tragic death of a Maryborough woman has helped inspire a fight to change legislation that is letting killer drivers go free with nothing more than a fine and a driving suspension.

Jo-Anne Fuller was killed in March when an unlicensed driver collided with her vehicle on the Maryborough-Hervey Bay Rd.

Jacob Tobias McFarlane, 20, was fined $1000 and was suspended from driving for four months after he pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention and driving with a licence that had been suspended by SPER.

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Mackay's Angela Meiklejohn lost her mother Audrey Dow to an unlicensed driver more than three years ago and when she heard about Jo-Anne's death, she was struck by the similarities.

The man responsible for the crash that claimed her mother's life, Aaron Kite, also received a fine and a driving suspension, leaving Ms Meiklejohn and her family devastated by what they perceived as inadequate punishment for what he had done.

During the inquest into her mother's death, coroner David O'Connell identified a gap in Queensland legislation, and recommended that the Attorney-General introduce a mid-range driving offence between dangerous driving and driving without due care and attention.

The Coroner recommended the law include a circumstance of aggravation for drivers who had caused death and were driving without a licence.

Ms Meiklejohn said she had received a letter from the Attorney-General's office, but nothing since.

So she decided to start a petition, which has so far garnered 1000 signatures, and ask Queensland to back her efforts to get the legislation changed sooner rather than later.

Ms Meiklejohn said she had spoken to Jo-Anne's family and they told her they supported her efforts to bring about change.

Jo-Anne's brother Ricky Fuller shared the family's pain after the sentence was handed down in July.

He described the sentenced as "p*** weak" and said the family had been left asking the heartbreaking question: "Is that all she's worth?"

He said the death had wrecked his family's lives and the sentence had compounded the pain of their loss.

"It's just completely inadequate," he said.

A Transport and Main Roads spokesman said the department was "currently reviewing the penalties for careless driving offences that result in death or grievous bodily harm".

"We're committed to taking steps to achieve our vision of zero deaths and injuries on our roads," the spokesperson said.

"The existing maximum penalties for careless driving offences are 40 penalty units ($4876) or six months' imprisonment.

Following the inquest into the death of Audrey Ann Dow, the State Coroner recommended including a circumstance of aggravation for drivers who caused death or grievous bodily harm in the commission of a careless driving offence.

"As a result, we are currently reviewing the penalties for careless driving offences that result in death or grievous bodily harm."
 



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