This article was published on November 13th, 2017
The Government is set to introduce new driving laws throughout the UK as part of their strategy to tackle dangerous driving.
Should the new plans come to fruition, motorists and other road users who are convicted of causing death by dangerous driving or whilst driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol could face a lifetime in prison.
At present, the maximum sentence for causing death by speeding, racing, or using a mobile phone whilst driving is 14 years, under the new plans this would be raised to a life-sentence meaning it would coincide with a sentence for manslaughter.
Likewise causing death by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol carries a 14-year sentence and this would be increased to a life sentence.
As well as reforming the current law, the Government will also introduce a new offence – causing injury by careless driving. The sentence for the proposed new offence is yet to be disclosed.
According to the Ministry of Justice, 157 people were convicted of causing death by dangerous driving in 2016 with a further 32 causing death whilst driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
These statistics sparked the Government into pledging to clamp down on dangerous and criminal activity on the UK’s roads.
The recently proposed changes to legislation come after the Government received the results of a public consultation on penalties relating to driving-related deaths and serious injuries.
In the results of the consultation, nearly 9,000 people responded positively to the proposed changes with 90 per cent of respondents believing that a new offence was needed to combat those who caused serious injury by driving carelessly.
Furthermore, 70 per cent of those consulted agreed that the maximum punishment for causing death by dangerous driving should be life imprisonment.
When asked about the new proposals, Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: “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.”
“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.”
Following the consultation which has now been completed, the Government will look to pass the new legislation a soon as possible.
Should the legislation be passed, the new laws will be applicable in both England and Wales.
Cyclists may also face new changes to legislation too as the Department of Transport is currently investigating whether or not a new offence of causing death by dangerous cycling is needed, however, no public consultation has taken place as of yet.
As with other offences that can potentially carry life sentences, it is likely that the maximum life sentence will only be handed out to those involved in the most serious cases.
Under the new legislation, the sentences will still be decided by an independent judge as is the way with all other criminal cases.
Being involved in an accident with a careless driver can have serious consequences.
It can leave victims and offenders alike with catastrophic injuries that can change their lives forever.
If you have been a victim of a dangerous driver and have suffered serious injuries then we are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
We aim to help you secure as much compensation as possible and our annual awards of damages for 2016 exceeded £14,000,000.
Our team have a wide range of experience when it comes to serious injuries including cases of limb loss, severe burns, spinal injuries, brain injuries and many more catastrophic injuries.
If you’d like to speak to a member of our team to discuss your potential case, you can call us for free on 0800 1979 345 or complete our enquiry form and we will call you back at a time that suits you.