Tragic mum's victory: 'Cassie's Law' to stop frail unfit drivers taking the wheel


A mother has won her tireless campaign for a ban on dangerous elderly drivers following the death of her 16-year-old daughter.

Cassie McCord was hit by partially-sighted 87-year-old Colin Horsfall as she stood on the pavement, three days after he failed an eye test. He refused to surrender his licence and so was able to carry on driving.

But now, after a two year battle, the teenager's mum, Jackie, has been given reassurances that would help ensure such a tragedy never happens again.

In a move dubbed 'Cassie's Law' the Department of Transport (DfT) has announced it is working to 'accelerate' the process to enable officials to seize licences of drivers who are deemed medically unfit to take the wheel.

At the moment, it can take days to revoke the licence of someone who has been deemed a danger by police. But now the DVLA will inform people they can no longer legally drive within hours of being tipped off by police officers.

Although it's not a change in legislation, the procedural improvement has been hailed by police as a potential life-saver.

Jackie, from Colchester, Essex, said: "I am confident this is a really good solution. The fact the Department for Transport has listened to someone like me who has no power is amazing.

"Next week it will be two years since Cassie died. The timing could not be better."

Jackie added: "Colin Horsfall was just a very selfish man. I just feel that he knew he was unfit to drive but that didn't stop him.

"The police don't have the power to temporarily withhold a driver's licence. Had they had the power to do that, Cassie wouldn't be dead. And there are other tragedies like hers."

Cassie, who wanted to become a lawyer, was on her way to college when she was killed. Police were in the process of trying to get Mr Horsfall's licence revoked when Cassie died.

Three days before he had driven into the exit of a petrol station in Colchester and then failed a police eye test. He walked with a stick and used a zimmer frame but despite being urged to surrender his licence, he refused.

Police were applying to the DVLA for his licence to be revoked but the process took days. Jackie had campaigned for a change in the law but the DfT said it instead has strengthened procedures to enable medically unfit drivers to be stopped quicker.

The department said licences will not be revoked immediately but communication between the police and the DVLA will improve and allow licences to be seized within a matter of hours.

It will then be up to the DVLA to decide whether the licence should be returned or revoked. Jackie presented her petition to Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond in October.

Alan Jones, the Police Federation's roads policing lead for England and Wales, welcomed the decision, saying: "It seems absolute nonsense a police officer who knows someone has defective eyesight has not be able to do anything.

"We believe what the Department for Transport has suggested is something which would work. "I know Cassie's Law asked for the police officer to have the authority to suspend a licence.

"In this suggestion, the officer acts as a conduit and we are happy with that."

Mr Horsfall died three months after the accident due to his injuries and pneumonia.