Motoring News, road safety

Life sentences for killer drivers?

  • Road-safety campaigners want more jail time…
  • …and life for causing death by dangerous driving
  • There’s nothing ‘careless’ about killing

SUDDEN IMPACTS: The first is the actual crash, the second the pain caused to families who lose loved one. Some in the UK was maximum pain for those who cause such collisions. Image: Google;

SUDDEN IMPACTS: The first is the actual crash, the second the pain caused to families who lose loved one. Some in the UK want maximum pain – the third impact – for those who cause such collisions. Image: Google

LONDON, England – The English Ministry of Justice has announced a consultation about tough jail time for criminal driving – even life for killer drivers.

Brake, a British road-safety charity which has long campaigned for justice for families bereaved by a criminal driver, supports the concept. Gary Rae, a Brake campaigns director, told The Corner in a media release:

“This is a vindication of our efforts, and those of victims’ families, towards change through our Roads to Justice campaign. For too long the courts have treated them as second-class citizens.

“We also remain concerned that the charge of ‘careless’ driving could stay.”

FULL RESPONSE EXPECTED IN FEBRUARY

Brake added: “Some of the strongest feedback we’ve received from families is that there is nothing careless about taking somebody’s life. We also want clarification on whether the current automatic 50% discount – convicted drivers serve only half their sentence – will still apply for these proposed sentences.

“These are proposals at this stage: we will give our full response before the February deadline and urge others, especially those directly affected by road deaths, to respond to the consultation.”

The suggestions want:

  • Dangerous drivers causing death by speeding, street-racing or using a cellphone to get the same sentences as those charged with conventional manslaughter.
  • And drivers who kill through careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs to be jailed for life: the current maximum is 14 years.

The suggestions come as ministers seek to deter dangerous criminal behaviour on UK roads by promising the toughest penalties. Justice Minister Sam Gyimah told The Corner in a media release: “Killer drivers ruin lives. Their actions cause immeasurable pain to families which must endure tragic loss.

“While it is 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 you could face a life sentence.”

The consultations seek 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 while under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life.
  • Creating a new offence – causing serious injury by careless driving – which will carry a maximum sentence of three years.
  • Longer driving bans for those convicted of causing death.

The announcement, made on December 4 2016, has delivered on the UK government’s pledge to reconsider sentences for the most serious driving offences.

Should tougher, and mandatory, sentences such as this be effected in South Africa? Send you views to thecarmanza@gmail.com .

Brake data shows 122 people were sentenced through 2015 in the UK for causing death by dangerous driving; 21 others were convicted of causing death by careless driving while under the influence.

The overall aim, Brake says, is to see jail time for causing death by careless or dangerous driving increase from an average of 3.8 years (2105 figure).

 

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