The family of a teenager who suffered life-changing injuries when a car ploughed through a red light and knocked her down have called for a law change after learning the driver faces just a fine and points on his licence.
Miriam Parker, 18, was in a coma for a month following the collision at a pelican crossing in Selsdon Park Road, South Croydon, on New Year's Day and, despite defying doctors' warnings she might die, will need care for the rest of her life.
The crash left the teenager, then 17, with a severe brain injury and reduced mobility, meaning she cannot return to her family's home in Carshalton when she leaves the Children's Trust centre in Tadworth, where she has been undergoing intensive rehabilitation since leaving hospital in March.
Amin Aminullah, 40, of Addington Road, Selsdon, last month admitted driving without due care and attention - a charge that means he may not lose his licence despite leaving the Archbishop Tenison's High School pupil's life "turned upside down".
Her family - including mother Davina, 53, and sisters Kirsty, 21, and Loren, 19 - plan to campaign for a change to the law, which currently does not take into account the seriousness of the injury inflicted by careless driving.
Despite the family's appeals, Crown Prosection Service decided there was insufficent evidence to charge Aminullah with the more serious offence of dangerous driving.
Davina said: "I'm grateful that she is still alive but our lives have been turned upside down. She is going to need help for the rest of her life. For a parent that is a horrendous thought. You're not always going to be there.
"I feel that they have not charged him with the right charge. He might not even get a ban from driving. He drove through a red light and did not even brake.
"Miriam feels she has lost her life. She has lost her independence. Everything has changed completely. All her friends are going to university."
Amin Aminullah leaves Croydon Magistrates Court yesterday
Miriam, who has aspired to be a nurse since she was 14, had been studying for her A-levels and was offered places at three universities before the accident, of which she has no memory.
A group of close friends visited her "nearly every day" she was in hospital, her mother said.
She added: "She has made a miraculous recovery considering she was not expected to live. The fact that she is here and she can talk and walk at all is a miracle.
"She is a fighter. When she came out of the coma the first thing she said was that she was determined to walk again. As far as she is concerned she is still going to be a nurse."
Miriam now hopes to return to school in September, but will be forced to leave the flat she shares with her mum because the block's concrete stairs mean it is now unsuitable.
Sutton Council is looking for properties so they can be rehoused but has not yet found anywhere appropriate.
Davina said: "We have lost everything. My daughter will never fully recover and we are going to lose our house we have lived in for 15 years.
"I could end up in bed-and-breakfast accommodation with my daughter. It has all been horrendous."
Aminullah was due to be sentenced by Croydon magistrates yesterday, but the hearing was adjourned after the court failed to book an interpreter.
His lawyer said he was "deeply sorry" for the collision.
A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: "The law on bad driving primarily requires consideration of the standard of the defendant’s driving rather than the consequences of his or her actions, however serious they may be.
"This case was thoroughly reviewed and a charge of dangerous driving was considered. However, there was insufficient evidence to prove that the defendant’s driving fell so far below the standard expected that he could be realistically convicted of dangerous driving.
"It was decided that the appropriate charge was driving without due care and attention.
"While the level of injury of the victim can be aggravating factor for sentencing purposes, it cannot be considered when determining the level of charge.
"Our thoughts are with Ms Parker and her family at this difficult time.”
Aminullah is now due to be sentenced on Tuesday.