Should there be a change in law regarding road safety and sentences for dangerous driving?

Date: 13.09.21 | in: Crime and Justice

The consequences that driving offences can have for victims and their loved ones are devasting. I sympathise profoundly with anyone who has lost a loved one through dangerous driving by others.

I strongly believe there should be a change in the law, so that dangerous drivers who kill feel the full force of the law. The urgent need for this change is illustrated by the fact that in 2019 over 150 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving. Of those offenders, around 95% received an immediate custodial sentence, of which over 15 received a sentence of more than ten years.

As 10% of offenders are already being sentenced near the maximum threshold, I believe it is about time that courts be provided with wider sentencing powers for these offences so that offenders are dealt with consistently and fairly.

That is why I am also in favour of the introduction of the new offence of causing serious injury by careless or inconsiderate driving which sets the maximum penalty for the offence on indictment at two years’ imprisonment.

Two amendments tabled by Ben Bradshaw MP at Report Stage of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill aimed to change the law on the extreme hardship principle, and the law as it relates to hit and run offences.

These amendments were debated on 5 July but were not pushed to a vote. I know Cycling UK has said it will continue building support for these changes and for a wider review, as the Bill passes through Parliament.

The Government committed to changing the law on causing death by dangerous driving following a review in 2014, seven years ago. In 2014, the Government also promised to publish its framework on road traffic offences and penalties. With hundreds of families losing loved ones to dangerous drivers in the intervening years, I believe the Government needs to explain what has held it up for so long.

We must be serious about addressing the incidence and consequences of unacceptable driving.

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