Dangerous drivers causing death by speeding, street racing or while on a mobile phone are among those now facing the same sentences as those charged with manslaughter.
Offenders who cause death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs could also be handed life sentences – an increase on the current 14 year upper limit.
New plans come as Ministers seek to deter dangerous, criminal behaviour on our roads, and make sure killer drivers face the toughest penalties.
Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said, “Killer drivers ruin lives. 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. “ My message is clear – if you drive dangerously and kill on our roads, you could face a life sentence.”
A consultation seeks views on whether the current maximum penalties available to the courts should be increased. Proposals include:
- increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life
- increasing the maximum sentence 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, with a maximum sentence of 3 years
- increasing minimum driving bans for those convicted of causing death
The announcement 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 whilst under the influence.
It is hoped the measures will see custodial sentences for causing death by careless or dangerous driving increase, from an average of 45.8 months in 2015.