Dangerous drivers who kill could face life sentence
Ministers to consult on increase in 14-year upper limit for causing death by speeding, street racing or while using a mobile
Sunday 4 December 2016 00.05 GMT
Dangerous drivers who kill are set to face life sentences under plans put forward by ministers. Those causing death by speeding, street racing or while using a mobile phone will face the same sentences as people charged with manslaughter.
Offenders who cause death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs could also be handed life sentences – an increase on the current 14-year upper limit.
“Killer drivers ruin lives,” said justice minister Sam Gyimah. “Their actions cause immeasurable pain to families, who must endure tragic, unnecessary losses. While impossible to compensate for the death of a loved one, we are determined to make sure the punishment fits the crime.”
A Ministry of Justice consultation will seek views on whether the current maximum penalties available to the courts should be increased. The department said that the new measures would see custodial sentences for causing death by careless or dangerous driving increase from an average of 45.8 months in 2015.
Proposals include increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by either dangerous or by careless driving from 14 years to life, and creating a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, which would carry a maximum sentence of three years. There are also proposals to increase the minimum driving bans for those convicted of causing death.
The department says the consultation delivers on the government’s pledge to consider the sentencing powers available to the courts for the most serious driving offences. In 2015, 122 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving, with a further 21 convicted of causing death by careless driving while under the influence.