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Life sentences for killer drivers

Published on: Oct 24 2017 at 07:58 PM

Ministers have confirmed plans to introduce tougher sentences for those who drive irresponsibly and devastate lives:

 

  • life sentences will be introduced for those who cause death by dangerous driving, and for careless drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs
  • new offence of causing serious injury through careless driving to be created
  • part of government action to make roads safer for all and stop devastation caused by dangerous drivers and cyclists.

 

The move comes after an overwhelming response to a government consultation, which revealed substantial backing for the plans from a wide range of people including victims, bereaved families and road safety experts.

 

Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: "We’ve taken a long hard look at driving sentences, and we received 9,000 submissions to our consultation. Based on the seriousness of the worst cases, the anguish of the victims’ families, and maximum penalties for other serious offences such as manslaughter, we intend to introduce life sentences of imprisonment for those who wreck lives by driving dangerously, drunk or high on drugs."

 

On the new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, Raab said: "We will introduce a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, punishable by imprisonment, to fill a gap in the law and reflect the seriousness of some of the injuries suffered by victims in this category of case."

 

The measures were confirmed in a government response to a consultation which sought views on whether current maximum penalties available to the courts should be increased, and received over 1,000 replies in just three days when launched in December 2016 – reaching more than 9,000 when it closed in February 2017.

 

The proposals confirmed include:

 

  • increasing the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life
  • increasing the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life
  • creating a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.

 

In 2016, 157 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving, with a further 32 convicted of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence.

 

Ministry of Justice

October 2017

 

 

 

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