Deadly Drivers

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fatal vehicle

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Kevin Barron is responsible for taking three innocent lives in three separate crashes and each time, he was allowed back behind the wheel...

Father of three John Donnelly was run down as he was walking home.  Kevin Barron blew 0.187 -- more than 3 times the legal limit.

His despicable driving record dates back to 1979.   His first victim was his 19- year-old brother Dennis and over the years Barron's been jailed twice and lost his licence several times but he keeps getting it back.

What's worse, because of the delay between being booked and going to court, Barron was free to drive any time while awaiting sentencing.  He was released on bail and jumped straight back in the driver’s seat.

“It can take in some cases, months between an alleged offence and court appearance and it really would make sense for a whole bunch of reasons for the court system to be more efficient, so those cases are heard more quickly”, said motoring expert, John Cadogen.

It’s this loophole John wants closed.  “It’s absolutely insane to allow these recidivous offenders to drive, we need to have a bigger stick that takes these absolutely dangerous drivers out of the mix and therefore keep the rest of us safe”, John said.

28-year-old Shaun Zagar and two of his young children should have been safe.  They were innocently waiting in their blue hatchback for the school bus, when a car ploughed into them.

The 36-year-old driver should never have been on the road -- he was disqualified from driving until 2030.  He's now in custody over last week’s incident.   “It was one crash that should not have occurred but killed three people”, said Assistant Commissioner, John Hartley.

While each state deals with drink driver fatalities differently, police do not always have the power to automatically revoke a licence.

This loophole was exposed when an extremely drunk mother of five, Melissa McKeown, veered on to the wrong side of the road slamming head-on into Kerry McMahon's Ford Fairlane.

Melissa McKeown kept her drivers’ licence for another 22 months and kept reoffending -- she was caught speeding twice.  She was sentenced to five years and three months and will be eligible for parole in three years.

Since Seven's 'Sunday Night' program aired that story, NSW Police has issued a statement saying it has reviewed its policy preventing the suspension of a driver's licence when a Future Court Attendance Notice is issued.   The policy will be changed from next month

“It’s absolutely a great idea to have officers at the coal face deciding whether or not to cancel licenses on the spot, if that scheme is not abused by individual officers.  It’s a fantastic way of keeping the rest of us safe”, John said.

It’s too little too late for the families who have already lost loved ones.  The man charged with a fatal hit run was allegedly unlicensed and high on drugs when he crashed a stolen car and fled, stepping over a 70-year-old grandfather who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Kevin Barron's case was the catalyst for WA police to change the law -- future drink driver killers will lose their licence as soon as they are charged.

Today, five years on from his latest incident, Barron remains behind bars -- he could be released late next year but he's been banned from holding a drivers licence for life.   “Unfortunately when you get the stick out and take someone’s licence away, not everyone complies.  Some elect to get back behind the wheel.   There’s a bigger penalty that needs to be brought to bear on these people and currently that’s a glaring hole in the system”, John said..

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