Motorists back tougher sentences for killer drivers

According to a new survey, the majority of motorists impose tougher sentences on murderous drivers.

A RAC survey of 2,800 drivers found that 40% believe that the courts should impose life sentences for causing death from dangerous driving.

Another 15% are of the opinion that the maximum sentence should be increased from the current 14 years.

The results suggest support for a private members bill introduced by former Prime Minister Theresa May, due to take place in parliament on Friday in second reading.

The bill aims to amend the 1988 Criminal Offenders Act to increase the maximum penalty for death from dangerous driving to life imprisonment.

Ms. May said that her government had committed to introducing such a change in the criminal code, but that it had been delayed.

The change is known as the Violet Grace Act after four-year-old Violet-Grace Youens was killed in 2017 by a motorist driving over 120 km / h in a 30 km / h zone.

The driver was detained for nine years and four months, but can be released as early as the next year.

In the year to March 2020, the police force in England and Wales recorded 555 deaths or serious injuries from dangerous driving.

RAC Road Safety Spokesperson Simon Williams said: “The drivers we interviewed are crystal clear in their belief that the current maximum penalty that the courts can impose for death from dangerous driving is inadequate and does not reflect how devastating these crimes are .

“While the UK has some of the safest roads in Europe, it’s a terrible thought that every year more than 500 drivers in England and Wales are convicted of killing others for choosing to drive dangerously.

“Allowing the courts to impose much tougher sentences will send a strong message to drivers and help reassure families of victims killed in collisions that the law is on their side.

“The government announced in 2017 that it would introduce stricter penalties, but unfortunately little progress has been made since then.

“That is why this bill is so important – we may still be a long way from changing Violet-Grace, but many people across the country will be interested to see what progress it is making in the hope that one day those convicted of it will step in soon really horrific crimes have to be behind bars for much longer. “

The bill is unlikely to become law due to a lack of parliamentary time.

But last month the Justice Department included a proposal to introduce life sentences for killer drivers in a white paper on conviction.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said: “We recently announced that we would be putting legislation in place next year to introduce life sentences for dangerous drivers who kill on our roads and to ensure they feel the full force of the law.

“Offenders who die from careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs could also live in prison. We make serious injuries from careless driving a criminal offense.”


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