The government is proposing tougher punishment for dangerous drivers despite greater efforts to improve the investigation into and prosecution of serious driving offences.
The Ministry of Justice is consulting on whether to increase the current maximum custodial sentences available for causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs. It is also seeking views on whether there is a gap in the law relating to careless driving resulting in serious injury.
In a foreword to the consultation paper, published today, justice minister Sam Gyimah (pictured) said the police has improved how it investigates serious driving offences following recommendations made by HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary last year.
The CPS has developed bespoke fatal road traffic incident training for specialist prosecutors and senior legal managers, and a protocol on fatal road traffic collision investigations and prosecutions. These will ensure the CPS has ‘specially trained prosecutors and a consistent approach to the prosecution of fatal road traffic incidents’, Gyimah said.
He added: ‘The government recognises however that there is still a public concern about the way that the law deals with offenders who kill or seriously injure others on the road.’
Proposals include increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life. The maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs increases from 14 years to life.
There is a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, with a maximum sentence of three years. Minimum driving bans for those convicted of causing death would be increased.
The consultation does not cover offences such as speeding, drink-drive limits, the ‘basic offences’ of careless or dangerous driving, and driving while using a mobile phone. But the consultation paper states that such behaviours are relevant where they are a factor in the driving that led to a death or serious injury.
The consultation closes on 1 February.